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Aug 22nd

Some Wary of Chinese investments in Africa

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Li Haowei

Paloich, South Sudan - Li Haowei's girlfriend gave him a silver ring when he left Liaoning, his home province in China, nine months ago. Before he boarded the flight to Sudan, Mr. Li had never even left Liaoning before. "You are so lucky," his girlfriend said, then, enviously.
Li Haowei

Li Haowei's girlfriend gave him a silver ring when he left Liaoning, his home province in China, nine months ago. Before he boarded the flight to Sudan, Mr. Li had never even left Liaoning before. "You are so lucky," his girlfriend said, then, enviously.

"I was happy to go abroad and see the world," says Li, an accountant for Petrodar, a multinational oil consortium. "But I did not know enough to know I did not want to come here."
Paloich is not a particularly welcoming place. The heat surrounds and suffocates you like a plastic bag. The dust in the dry season sticks to your eyelashes and fills your nostrils. Mosquitoes buzz in your ears relentlessly.

Li is making three times the salary he would at home. But he misses his girlfriend, he says, twisting his ring around. He misses Liaoning. He misses real Chinese food. Sometimes he can't sleep. Fear of malaria is a constant. He broke down crying when he read a tender letter from his mother last month. He does not like it here.


 

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