FUZHOU, (Xinhua) --
Yang Dong, a construction project manager for a
Chinese company, returned to Africa on a new project in 2017, a
few years after completing a water storage project that benefits
thousands of residents in northern Kenya.
Yang was posted with
the project in Kenya by his firm China Wu Yi, headquartered in
Fuzhou, southeast China’s Fujian Province. He was responsible
for the digging of water storage ponds along the
under-construction Turbi-Moyale road that connects Kenya and
The 130-km road
traverses the savanna in north Kenya, which suffers from water
shortages in the dry season, causing intermittent tribal clashes
over access to water sources.
Apart from providing
more economic opportunities for the whole country, especially
the underdeveloped north, the road has also changed the lives of
thousands of residents.
Yang’s project was
designed to supply water for construction needs, but they were
soon surprised to find that their ponds were frequently visited
by residents and their livestock.
Yang recalled that
in the beginning, when digging the ponds, he and his colleagues
were visited, even threatened by some tribal elders escorted by
men with knives and machetes, who were apprehensive of the
workers’ tools and the noise and dust they created.
As more residents
benefited from the project, the Chinese construction workers
were welcomed with gifts.
More ponds were dug
to meet the needs of residents.
well-known in the region and was nicknamed “Mr. Think” because
he always reminded his workers to think before doing anything,
to think about what to do first, and how to work more
One day, Yang
received six sheep as gifts from a resident. “I was really happy
when they gave me the sheep,” said Yang. “It means that my
project has really benefited them and made their lives better.”
Thanks to the ponds,
tribal groups no longer instigate conflicts over limited water
More than 200
households have chosen to settle near the ponds, and herdsmen
from Ethiopia cross the border to get water from the ponds,
according to Wan Dongsheng, deputy general manager of China Wu
The ponds will be
able to provide water for residents for up to 10 years, even
considering sediment accumulation, said Wan.
The firm invested
9.5 million yuan (1.4 million U.S. dollars) to dig 17 ponds
along the Turbi-Moyale road, which can meet the need for water
by 100,000 residents and 500,000 animals.
The project began in
2012 and was completed in 2016. It is part of the Trans-Africa
Highway, which runs from Cairo, Egypt to Cape Town, South
The experience of
the Turbi-Moyale road project has been introduced in other road
projects, including the one that Yang now is working on in
According to Wan,
the firm has carried out contracts in over 10 countries and
regions in Africa and created around 10,000 jobs for locals
since it entered the African market in 2002.
“We will continue to
dedicate ourselves to improving local people’s living standards
while trying to expand our business in Africa,” said Wan.