By Haroon Nomaan from Pakistan
I’m an engineer working for Lenovo in Wuhan. After the COVID-19 epidemic broke out in the city, I joined a volunteer team of the Hubei Charity Federation, becoming the only foreigner on the 83-member team.
I helped sort materials donated to the city and translate English and Urdu customs clearance documents into Chinese.
As an engineer, the volunteering job was new to me, so it was hard for me to pull things together at the beginning. I had to search for information online first and then consult professionals every time I encountered terms on customs clearance and medical materials, so as to ensure correct translation.
My wife, who studied at the School of Journalism and Communication of Wuhan University, was very supportive. She speaks Russian, so she often helped me translate Russian materials.
Learning what I was doing, my company particularly reduced my workload. Gradually, I got better and better at the job. Now I could easily translate complicated professional terms into Chinese, and now I’m one of the executives for a material reception group.
Volunteers need to spend much time on communicating to ensure purchases of preventative materials, unimpeded logistics and rapid handling of tax reduction formalities for donated materials.
I’m in more than 130 chat groups on the messenger app WeChat, and it’s a unique experience switching between them one by one every day.
To avoid time differences between me and overseas donators, I always talked to those in Asia at 8 a.m. and contacted those in Europe and America at 2 a.m. the next day. This extended my working hours to over 14 hours per day.
On March 15, my volunteer service came to an end. Busy as I was during the period, I didn’t feel the tiredness. When I saw a drastic decline in confirmed coronavirus cases in China and the remarkable achievements in containing the disease, I felt proud of myself as a part of it.
As Chinese President Xi Jinping said, public health crises pose a common challenge for humanity, and solidarity and cooperation are the most powerful weapon to tackle them.
Over the 40 days, we received 253 batches of donations and I recorded all of them carefully. They are a token of love for Wuhan, and represent the strong power of the people from all over the world in combating the disease with concerted efforts.
What touched me deeply was that the alumni associations of international students in Wuhan also actively donated money and materials to the city, providing concrete support to the anti-epidemic efforts. Having lived in Wuhan for years, I empathize with them. Everyone who’s been living here is deeply attached to the city.
Every person I met was contributing their share to combating the epidemic. What I did was trivial compared with their work. A simple message in WeChat group was all we had to do every time we needed supplies during the quarantine, and the community workers would soon deliver the goods to our doorsteps. I know that we were cared for when we were helping others, and this moved me very much.
Now, Wuhan is covered by green plants and flowers in full bloom. In the future, we’ll cherish more the happy and peaceful life we have here.