Zambian student reaches out for Chinese tradition

By Zhang Yu in Shijiazhuang |
Updated: Feb 17, 2021

Holding a calligraphy brush in his right hand, Mutakala Siakalima learned to write the Chinese character fu, which means good fortune, on a red paper by imitating a teacher's movements stroke by stroke.

Mutakala, 19, is a sophomore from Zambia majoring in economics and international trade at Hebei University of Science and Technology in Shijiazhuang, Hebei province.

He spent the Chinese Lunar New Year's Eve on Feb 11, with his teachers and classmates at school this year. It's his first time to experience a Spring Festival celebration.

"I'm very excited to try Chinese traditional activities like writing fu, making dumplings, hanging red lanterns and pasting new couplets," Mutakala said, adding that he celebrates Christmas by hanging lights on a tree and giving gifts to family members and friends.

After finishing writing, he pasted his fu character on the door of his dormitory.

"Although it's not as beautiful as my teacher's, it bears all my wishes for the new year," Mutakala smiled, showing off his calligraphy.

"My New Year's wish is for the world to recover from the pandemic we are currently facing, so that families can be reunited," he said.

Mutakala has been in China for about three years and doesn't plan to go home before graduation. "China is like my second home and I love living here. My teachers and classmates are very friendly. More important, I feel safe during the pandemic," he said.

When a new round broke out earlier this year, his school shifted to closed management and took body temperatures every day to ensure students' health.

"It took me a while to adapt to the situation, but facts have proved that it is very necessary and effective," he said

Leaders and teachers of the university regularly brought gifts and daily necessities to overseas students and showed them how to disinfect rooms to prevent infection.