Feature: Chinese training inspires hope among young South Sudanese technicians

Source: Xinhua| 2019-11-14 21:34:53|Editor: ZX
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JUBA, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) -- A popular Chinese saying -- you give a poor man a fish and you feed him for a day, you teach him to fish and you give him an occupation that will feed him for a lifetime -- is what exactly Samuel Chieng, a 21-year-old South Sudanese technician and his peers got after training in China.

Chieng who completed his secondary four education (S.4) in the remote Lakes state region in Central South Sudan, was once among thousands of restless unemployed youth in the youngest country but lady luck struck on him when PowerChina offered him a job in June 2018.

Having started off as a casual laborer with the Chinese major power company which is rehabilitating and expanding the Juba power distribution system, Chieng is more than grateful to PowerChina for offering him life skills which have enabled his promotion to become an electrical engineer who now supervises his colleagues.

"I finished S.4 and came to Juba to look for job in March 2018. I first tried hawking in the market selling second hand clothes and from here I joined PowerChina in June. I first worked with them as a casual laborer before they promoted me to be an electrician," Chieng told Xinhua on Thursday in Juba while giving instructions to his team at an electric transmission site.

PowerChina which employs more than 400 local South Sudanese, sent Chieng and 10 other colleagues on Aug. 28 to attend electrical engineering training in various provinces in China.

"I went to North China Electric Power University branch campus in Baoding, Hebei Province. I leant about the operation of thermal power plant and power transmission," he said.

"Nothing is hard anymore for me at work. They can just give me the (work) plan and tell me to go and work. I have been working on Medium Voltage (MV) earthing and also transformer earthing. If the work is familiar with my colleagues I leave to plan for other areas," disclosed Chieng.

South Sudan is seeking post-conflict recovery in the wake of President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar of the SPLA-in opposition (SPLA-IO) group having signed the revitalized peace agreement in September 2018 in Ethiopia.

The five years conflict that broke out in December 2013, killed tens of thousands and displaced millions leaving the economy ruined amid hyperinflation.

"The skills which I have acquired are great and I think these skills will help me in future because I have my certificate in electrical engineering," added Chieng.

Patrick Lomoro, 27 years old also benefited from training by PowerChina at the North China Electric Power University branch campus in Baoding.

He disclosed that he is more than determined to use these newly acquired skills to help contribute toward maintenance of the power distribution system when Chinese workers leave the country.

"I hope to put these skills acquired to proper use if I get the opportunities. After this project of PowerChina we are wishing if there is another new project we shall express our knowledge," said Lomoro who is currently an electrical technician with PowerChina.

Lomoro said he gained knowledge on power plants, how to change steam turbines and smart power plants.

"The work we are doing we are not doing it because of money but we are doing it because of love for our country," he said.

Muto Emmanuel Francis 28, who received training in Changsha, capital of Hunan province, said his confidence and knowledge has been boosted after completing short training in the power sector.

"In PowerChina we have been doing a lot, we have gained lots of experience with PowerChina. We have that heart because we want our country to develop," said Francis.

"We have been struggling and passing through challenges, other people even ran away from the company but we continued working until when they gave us forms to fill so that we go for short training courses in China," he added.

Francis who gained knowledge on operation of smart power grid, smart substation, wind power including merits and demerits respectively added that they are ready to help contribute toward transformation and development in South Sudan.

"It's just a matter of putting in effort like the way they teach us here in the field. The time we joined this company, we didn't have any work experience but they taught us and we are doing a great job. I am confident of what they taught us there in China, I am sure we can manage maintaining the power distribution system," said Francis.

Wang Cun, executive director of PowerChina branch in South Sudan, revealed that the project supported by the African Development Bank (AfDB) since 2016 to rehabilitate the power distribution and expansion in Juba has greatly transformed hundreds of local employees.

PowerChina started erecting poles and replacing vandalized power lines in Juba in April 2018, and most of the work is nearing completion after the company recently finished the erection of medium voltage and low voltage poles that will supply 100MW of power.