Mastery of Chinese language changes fortunes of Kenyan youth
26 October 2015, 21:30
Nairobi - When Methody Owaki was growing
in Busia County in northwest Kenya, he never imagined he would interact with
people of diverse background.
He lived with his grandmother, who was a subsistence farmer,
after his parents moved to Mombasa in search for greener pastures.
"I often had to drop out of school because of lack of
school fees due to the meager earnings of my grandmother," Owaki said.
The 28-year-old Kenyan's fortunes began to change when in
2008 after passing the secondary examinations, he joined the University of
Nairobi on government scholarship to study Bachelor of Education in Linguistics
Having being his first time in Nairobi and without any close
relatives, he decided to join the University of Nairobi Choir in order to
sharpen his musical skills.
His big break came in 2010, when the choir was invited to
perform at the Confucius Conference in China.
"I was really looking forward to visit China as a I
heard a lot about Chinese prowess in manufacturing products," he said.
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"That is when my admiration for Chinese culture began
and it has grown ever since," Owaki told Xinhua.
After he came back from China, he enrolled for a Chinese
language course at the university of Nairobi Confucius Institute.
"I found it difficult at first but I persevered until I
was enabled to communicate proficiently in Chinese," Owaki said.
Owaki went on to complete his undergraduate studies in 2012,
when he devoted most of his energies studying and learning Chinese.
"I was convinced that the mastery of Chinese language
will enable me to access opportunities that I only dreamt of as a child,"
Due to his mastery of the Chinese language, in 2013 he
earned a scholarship to study a Master's Degree in Chinese Language at the
Tianjin Normal University.
He is currently doing his internship at the University of
Kabianga in Kericho County which is 300 kilometers north of Nairobi where he is
a Chinese language tutor.
He will go back to China in 2016 in order to complete his
master degrees before the end of 2016.
Early this month, he emerged as the winner of a China-Africa
friendship knowledge competition where he beat 15 other contestants on Chinese
culture and language.
Owaki will represent Kenya in the finals of the Sino-Africa
Friendship Knowledge Competition slated to take place in China next month.
He vowed to continue teaching Chinese to Kenyans after
completing his studies.
"The Chinese are very warm people especially how they
treat foreign visitors and so I hope to disseminate the rich Chinese Culture to
Kenyans," he added.
"I did not come from a well off background but because
of the Chinese language, I am able to stand on my own," he said.
With his earnings, Owaki supports his two younger siblings.
His younger brother Brian Owaki is currently a third year
student at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT).
"I look up to my older brother who helps to pay for my
living expenses while in school," he said.
"Without his assistance I would probably not enrolled
in university," he added.
The younger Owaki told Xinhua that he draws inspiration from
his older brother.
"I am also hoping to have a chance to study in China
where I will have a chance to learn the dynamic Chinese culture," he said.