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'I never imagined I could meet Uhuru'

21 September 2015, 21:41

Nairobi - Joseck Nyareru, a 28-year-old excavator operator, has never imagined he could briefly show President Uhuru Kenyatta how to operate the heavy construction equipment until the day came.

During the groundbreaking ceremony on Saturday for the Nairobi terminus of the China-funded Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) line, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta twice excavated the earth in high spirits, alongside Nyareru in the cab of the equipment.

The SGR line, built by China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) and scheduled to be completed by 2017, will link the capital city of Nairobi, the coastal port of Mombasa, and Naivasha, a town lies about 120 kms northwest of the capital, which is rich in geothermal resources.

Employed by the CRBC, Nyareru told Xinhua after the ceremony that he was grateful for giving him the opportunity to have something he will forever talk about.

"I was happy when I was chosen among others to be the one to take President Kenyatta through the paces of excavation during the ceremony. It is a moment I will cherish for forever," said Nyareru.

The father of one child, who came from Kisii county in western Kenya, believed he was selected for the assignment due to his good workmanship.

Kenyatta gave Nyareru a firm handshake and briefly talked with him.

"He told me he was happy to see young Kenyans take part in nation-building and encouraged me to continue working hard," he said.

Nyareru worked for another foreign firm as an excavator operator before joining the Chinese company eight months ago. The Chinese employers granted him the "freedom and space to perform his work" as long as he was performing the right task, he said.

"Chinese are the best people to work with and given another chance, I would still prefer to work with them," he added.

The CRBC has so far hired more than 25,000 Kenyan workers for the massive project, and has offered training to over 16,000 of them. China will fund 90 percent of the 3.8 billion U.S. dollar project.

The 472km railway line, replacing a narrow-gauge track built over 100 years ago during the British colonial rules, will cut the journey times between the two cities from the current 10 hours to about four and a half.

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- Xinhua

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