Nigerian student studying in China enjoys rewarding volunteer work in COVID-19 fight

Wen He (right) takes body temperature of an international student. (Photo/ Wen He)

“The novel coronavirus is the common enemy of the world. I want to do what I can to protect my university and schoolmate,” said Umunnah Obinna Ifeanyi Gentle, a Nigerian student studying in Liaoning Technical University (LNTU) in northeast China’s Liaoning province.


The young man, who is a first-year postgraduate student majoring in communication engineering in LNTU, has worked as a volunteer to help his university with epidemic prevention and control efforts after the outbreak of the COVID-19.

Since China has taken nationwide efforts to fight the COVID-19 epidemic, the School of International Education of LNTU promptly formulated an epidemic prevention and control work plan, arranging staff members and teachers to watch over the dormitories of international students to guard against infection 24 hours a day.

In an effort to better communicate with international students during the COVID-19 fight, the university issued a notice on recruiting volunteers for epidemic prevention and control. Umunnah Obinna Ifeanyi Gentle, who has given himself the Chinese name of Wen He after he came to China, was the first one responding.

LNTU has more than 100 international students from 23 countries. Every day, Wen needed to take and record body temperatures of these students twice. Besides, he also distributed among them anti-epidemic materials provided by the university, such as gloves and masks, disinfected dormitories, and regularly learned the students’ demand for supplies so as to arrange centralized purchase for them.

Wen’s volunteer work didn’t go well at the beginning, for some students thought certain epidemic prevention and control measures affected their study and daily life, Wen said, disclosing that once he had a fight with a Bangladeshi student named Li Taiyang (Md Abdullah Al Sadid) over taking body temperature.

He named himself Wen He, which means mild and gentle in Chinese, because he wanted to remind himself of staying calm, according to Wen. Therefore, he didn’t give up and continued to work hard in the face of these difficulties.

When some students showed concerns about the epidemic situation, he encouraged them to face the difficult time with an optimistic mindset, Wen said.

Wen shares the latest information about epidemic prevention and control with his fellow schoolmates every day, and tells them interesting stories about his travels in China and famous tourist attractions he had visited, said the young man who sometimes also cooks for them.

As the man made earnest efforts to help protect internationals students from the virus, Wen’s volunteer work received more and more recognition and understanding.

Learning that Wen is about to move to another campus of the university in the next semester, Li Taiyang, a Bangladesh student who had quarreled with him over prevention measures, now doesn’t want him to leave.

He told Wen that he and other students would visit him often at the new campus, and asked Wen to stop by and visit his old friends frequently.

A few days ago on his birthday, Wen received many birthday wishes on messenger app WeChat from his schoolmates, which deeply touched him.

Wen said what he did was simple, and he was fulfilled that everyone was so supportive and cooperative for his work.

Wen always shares the stories about China’s COVID-19 fight with his family and friends in Nigeria. When a friend of his wondered how China was able to build a hospital with more than 1,000 beds within ten days, Wen forwarded video clips showing the construction of the hospital he received from a Nigerian friend working in the virus-hit Hubei province, Wen told people’s Daily, adding that his friend marveled at the Chinese speed.

China’s COVID-19 fight has been without doubt a good example to countries in the world, Wen noted.

Wen studies Chinese every day. He plans to start a course on Chinese culture when he returns to Nigeria, so as to help more college students there learn more about China and visit the country to see its rapid development.