As a flagship project of China-Kenya cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative, the Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway has brought tangible benefits to the people of Africa since its completion and operation six years ago. Throughout the construction process, a significant number of talents have been nurtured in Kenya through mentorship in various aspects such as operation, maintenance, and inspection. Beyond professional development, profound friendships have evolved between mentors and mentees.
Jiang Liping, an experienced Chinese train driver, came to Kenya in 2018 to provide daily technical training and driving guidance to local employees. While learning techniques from Jiang, Horace Owiti has developed a close rapport with him. In the 6-square-metre cab, the two work together seamlessly.
Mao Xin, a Chinese Operation Director at Afristar, a subsidiary of CCCC, made plans to operate the train with his mentee, Peter, and taught his Kenyan mentees the technical standards. He considers it's a highlight of his life to help build the first modern railway of Kenya. Peter also expressed that he learned many professional skills from his mentor and would pass on the knowledge to others in the future.
He Xiao, a Chinese engineer at Afristar, a subsidiary of CCCC, has been the mentor of local employees during work. Under his guidance, Oliver has been engaged in the maintenance of the railway track since 2016 and was promoted to technical supervisor in 2022. They not only witnessed the construction and operation process of the Nairobi-Naivasha Standard Gauge Railway from scratch but also gained a warm friendship. "My Chinese mentor has helped me promote my career, and I hope to make better use of what I have learned to ensure railway operations and passenger safety, " said Oliver.
Chen Ling is the supervisor of the electronic equipment maintenance section at Afristar, CCCC's subsidiary. While working for 4 years in Kenya, she has witnessed the remarkable growth of local employees in signal and communication skills. "Now, they are all capable of working independently," Chen Ling proudly stated. Judith, one of Chen Ling's mentees, expressed her gratitude for not only acquiring technical skills from her mentor but also for the enriching exchanges on food and culture during their breaks. "We are mentors and mentees, but also sisters," Judith added.
Wu Tongming, an engineer from CCCC, arrived in Kenya in 2017 to join Afristar's Railway Locomotive Vehicle Workshop. With the growing need for transportation capacity on the Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway, Wu collaborated with local mentees to enhance and revise the testing protocols for the newly introduced night trains. Wu expressed admiration for the mentees' proactive approach, stating, "I was truly impressed by their initiative." One of the mentees, Kirumwa, expressed gratitude towards Wu, saying, "My mentor not only taught me practical skills but also imparted valuable experiences. I hope that more technical instructors will come to Kenya in the future."