I am Dr. Emmanuel MANIRAFASHA (Ph.D.), but most friends call me Dr. Manu or Maboshi (马博士) here in China. My Chinese name is 马希望; it is recognized as an official Chinese name because it is mentioned on my accommodation registration form for persons from abroad (local residence permit), my Chinese driving license, and car registration certificate. I am from Rwanda, the land of a thousand of hills referred to as the heart of Africa. I work as a Senior Scientific Research and Development expert at XIAMEN CANCO BIOTECH CO., Ltd (厦门昶科生物工程有限公司). My story has three main parts: how I get to China, my studentship and work experience in China, and my love for China as my second homeland.
我叫 Emmanuel MANIRAFASHA，是一名博士，很多中国朋友都叫我 Manu 博士或马博士。我的中文名字叫马希望，这是我的官方中文名，因为我的外国人住宿登记表（当地居住证）、中国驾驶证和机动车登记证上都写着“马希望”。我来自“千山之国”卢旺达，也被称为非洲的心脏。我在厦门昶科生物工程有限公司工作，是一名高级研发专家。我的故事分为三个部分：我是如何来到中国的，我在中国的求学和工作经历，以及我对第二故乡中国的热爱。
I have been excited to visit China since I was a young boy due to Chinese movies, particularly Jacky Chan’s films called “Who I am” and “Drunken Master I & II.” My dreams came true the first time I came to China in September 2008 for my master’s program at Xiamen University. It was the start of my Home Away from Home, the first time in my life that I spent eighteen months abroad without meeting my relatives and my girlfriend face to face.
我小时候受到中国电影的熏陶，尤其喜欢看成龙的电影《我是谁》《醉拳 I》和《醉拳 II》，所以盼望着来中国旅游。2008 年 9 月，我第一次来到中国，到厦门大学攻读硕士学位，我的梦想终于实现了。这就是我异国之乡故事的开端，人生中第一次在国外待了一年半，也与亲人和女友分别了一年半。
Living in a country where I do not understand and speak any word in the local language was challenging. Fortunately, we came in a group of twelve students from Rwanda; four were my classmates. I thank everyone who contributed to the sustainability of the Rwandan community in Xiamen. We try to create entertainment such as sports activities and room parties to attract foreign and Chinese friends. Apart from making our entertainment activities, we actively participated in various activities organized by the University and other international students’ communities through extra-curriculum activities:
生活在一个陌生的国家真是一种挑战——我既听不懂汉语，更不会讲汉语。幸运的是，我们团队的 12 名学生，全都来自卢旺达，其中四个是我的同学。我感谢每一个为厦门卢旺达社区的可持续发展做出贡献的人。我们尝试开展娱乐活动，如体育活动和室内派对，吸引中国和外国的朋友。除了开展娱乐活动外，我们还积极参与学校和其他留学生社团组织的各项课外活动：
From our initiative, we participated in community work (general cleaning around Xiamen City) during the typhoon period (2015); volunteering cleaning of displaced places.
Rwandan community in Xiamen actively participated in the Food Cultural Festival organized by Xiamen University Cultural Groups.
Representatives of the Rwandan students’ community have offered traditional symbolic Rwandan culture gifts to Xiamen University President’s offices. The gifts are traditionally symbolic of Rwanda culture: a traditional Basket known as “AGASEKE” in Kinyarwanda. Agaseke symbolizes secrecy, love, and peace. Another part of the gift is a woodcraft that shows the geographical map of Rwanda with handshaking in it. From the Woodcraft gift, we would like to express the bilateral cooperation between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Rwanda sustainable and further collaboration.
卢旺达学生社团代表向厦门大学校长办公室赠送象征卢旺达传统文化的礼物：卢旺达传统篮子，在基尼亚卢旺达语中叫做 “AGASKE”。AGASKE 象征着秘密、爱与和平。另一个礼物是木雕，上面刻有卢旺达的地图，地图又组成了两只手紧紧相握的图案，这份礼物想表达的寓意是，中华人民共和国与卢旺达共和国之间，保持着可持续的双边合作关系，未来两国间的合作也会进一步深化。
There was a time we were requested to help a Chinese friend who had low blood platelets; I am thankful to Almighty God that the life of that Chinese friend was saved. Since that time, I have decided to donate blood regularly. It emphasized that people with different skin colors are one family even if some people deliberately create discrimination. Rwanda Students and workers are also willing and very passionate about blood donation to save the lives of people in need.
Concerning my studies in China, I did not face any problems in coursework as our professors taught us in English as planned. The main challenge came when I started my research, where most of the laboratory machines were labeled in Chinese. That challenge did not discourage me, but it motivated me to maximize my working time, where I had to find someone to explain the functionalities of the equipment. During training sessions, I try to make notes that would guide me while I have to manipulate the machines on my own. After graduation in 2010, I returned to my country for work and family responsibilities. In September 2014, I returned to China to do my doctorate program at Xiamen University. I luckily joined the same supervisor and lab group. During my doctorate program at Xiamen University, I diligently performed my assigned tasks and responsibilities, thus winning an outstanding international student award in 2018.
谈到我在中国的学习，课程上没有遇到任何问题，因为教授们都按照计划，用英语授课。当我开始进行研究的时候，面临了一项重大挑战：大部分实验室仪器贴的都是中文标签。这个难题并没有让我气馁，反而激励我最大限度利用工作时间。我必须找个人为我解释这些设备的功能。培训课上，我试着做笔记，方便我之后独自操作这些仪器。2010 年毕业后，为了工作，也为了承担家庭的责任，我回国了。2014 年 9 月，我再次回到中国，再次来到厦门大学，攻读博士学位。很幸运，同一位导师选择了我，我加入了他的实验团队。在厦大读博期间，我努力完成分配给我的任务，承担应尽的义务，获得了 2018 年优秀留学生奖。
My work at CANCO is to develop biological products, especially algal-derived products, to promote healthy environments and people. After realizing that one drop of seawater contains millions of various microorganisms, I decide to focus on Natural Resources and Technology Deployment for Green Economy and Sustainable Development. I have developed a unique diatoms product with two functionalities: live aquatic foods for shrimps and fish and a water purifier.
I consider China as my second homeland, which pushed me to assign my three sons official Chinese names (希望, 小王, 和马哇哇). In that line, I decided to work and link with Chinese institutions and companies to exchange knowledge and resources for full deployment, as China has established the Belt and Road initiative for sharing resources and technology that many countries are gaining from development projects initiated by China. I will continue to create jobs for Chinese people and foreigners through B-2-B companies’ cooperation and partnership, thus leading to impressive mutual benefits for sustainable development.
中国是我的第二故乡，我给三个儿子起了中文名字：希望、小王、马哇哇。我与中国的机构和公司达成合作，交流知识，交换资源，全面部署。中国已经建立了“一带一路”倡议，多国共同参与中国发起的开发项目，共享资源和技术。我将继续与 B2B 企业建立合作伙伴关系，为中国人民和外国人创造就业机会，实现互利共赢的可持续发展。
My message to everyone: the world does not possess absolute truth; it needs your truth. It is currently challenging for everyone who wishes to come to live in China to get trustable and complete information from social media or mainstreaming news channels; because of plenty of fake news. From now, if every person provides reliable information, it will be trustworthy to get salient news and information from social media in the future. Let me share quotes that inspire me: “Do whatever you can, with whatever you have, wherever you are.” Theodore Roosevelt; “All of us together can bring a greater change in this world.” Shadab Hassan
Almighty God bless you all.