By Wang Hongyang and Shao Xuchang
“The Chinese service members, who spare no efforts to help the local people in need of help, have brought the Lei Feng Spirit to the world,” acclaimed an officer in charge of civil-military coordination at the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) while visiting the Lei Feng Memorial Hall in Gao, Mali.
Lei Feng is one of the ten model heroes of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army and a member of the Communist Party of China with only merely 22 years lifetime. He studied hard and worked diligently at every position he was assigned to, served the people heart and soul and took “serving others without any thought of self-interests” as his motto and practiced it with concrete actions. The essence and core of Lei Feng Spirit is to serve the people wholeheartedly and make selfless dedication for the people’s cause.
The Lei Feng Memorial Hall, covering an area of about 100 square meters, stands in the camp of the 9th Chinese peacekeeping engineering contingent to Mali located in Gao. Completed in June 2017, the memorial hall tells the stories of Lei Feng through pictures and texts. Over the past years, batches of Chinese peacekeepers have gradually improved the facilities of the memorial hall, while practicing the Lei Feng Spirit at the same time in fulfilling missions.
Since arriving at the mission area in August last year, members of the 9th Chinese peacekeeping engineering contingent to Mali have engaged in engineering operations, including building air defense bunkers, leveling roads and fields, fixing damaged facilities, and sorting waste and garbage. They performed every task with high professionalism and devotedness.
As the situation in Mali continues to be volatile, large numbers of refugees have gathered in Gao and Ménaka. The Chinese peacekeeping force voluntarily contacted relevant departments of the MINUSMA and donated food, medicine, and other supplies to the refugees. “We are particularly grateful for the Chinese peacekeepers’ sincere help in our difficult times,” said a refugee who received supplies.
Ménaka, more than 300 kilometers away from Gao and near the Mali-Niger border, features frequent terrorist activities as one of the areas with the highest risk in Mali. The Ménaka detachment of the 9th Chinese peacekeeping engineering contingent had to deal with various emergencies while completing engineering construction tasks. During the 10-month mission period in Ménaka, the 38-member detachment completed more than 20 engineering construction tasks entrusted by the MINUSMA including building bunkers, rush-repairing roads and erecting prefabricated houses.
“Whenever we come across peacekeepers from other countries, UN employees, or local people in Mali, they will give us thumbs-up. At that moment, a sense of pride arises from the bottom of our hearts,” said Wang Meng, deputy commander of the 9th Chinese peacekeeping engineering contingent.
MINUSMA Sector East Commander Stefan J Andersson left a message when visiting the contingent’s Lei Feng Memorial Hall. “I feel the responsibility, professionalism, diligence, and friendliness implied in the Lei Feng Spirit from the Chinese peacekeepers. You have won the recognition and respect of all parties with your actions,” he wrote.