GUANGZHOU, April 24 (Xinhua) -- When Ogbonna Maximus Ikenna from Nigeria came to China for the first time in 2003, to try his fortune on this land of opportunities, he knew little about the country or the Chinese language.
The then 28-year-old had planned to start a business, make some money in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, and then return to Africa.
Yet the longer he stayed, the more reluctant he was to leave the city where he has been living for the past 17 years.
Ikenna's years in Guangzhou proved rewarding, both in his career and love. He now serves as president of the association of the Nigerian community in China, with a Chinese wife and two children.
"Guangzhou is a safe place with accommodating locals," he said, considering this open and inclusive metropolis his second hometown.
As one of the most important hub cities in China, Guangzhou has a long history of trading with countries and regions around the world and enjoys a reputation for its favorable business environment.
Nhalochy Lare Tietimpo, president of the association of the Togolese community in China, also thinks of Guangzhou as a place where people can pursue their dreams.
The Togolese businessman fell in love with Chinese culture since high school and came to China in 2000 to pursue his studies. He also married a Chinese woman and now can speak fluent Chinese.
For the time being, however, the world faces great challenges brought by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Guangzhou had reported a total of 126 confirmed COVID-19 cases imported from overseas by the end of Wednesday, the municipal health commission said Thursday.
Measures have been taken by the city to contain COVID-19, with all personnel entering the city from overseas required to undergo nucleic acid testing and a 14-day home observation or concentrated medical observation.
Ikenna, who also had a nucleic acid test and was released from quarantine, said he and his Nigerian friends in Guangzhou now understand the local government's efforts in containing the virus, adding that trust and cooperation help better prevent the virus from spreading.
"Only when the epidemic is controlled, can our trading business prosper," Ikenna said.
John Vedasto Rwehumbiza, president of the association of the Tanzanian community in China, went to college in China in 1987, just out of his interest in China's reform and opening up. His family has settled in Guangzhou.
He believes that through the efforts of the government and the media, the relations between China and Africa will be more stable based on a better mutual understanding.
"Africans in Guangzhou should trust the local government and understand that the anti-epidemic measures taken are not only for the safety of the Chinese, but also foreigners in the city," Rwehumbiza said. Enditem