Across China: Foreign volunteer joins community service in fight against virus
TIANJIN, March 20 (Xinhua) -- Nami Moallem coached student football teams at schools in north China's Tianjin Municipality, but since the novel coronavirus outbreak, he has a new identity: volunteer.
Nami volunteered to help with epidemic prevention and control in the Binhai New Town residential district in Tianjin's Binhai New Area.
"Nihao (hello in Chinese)," Nami said, as he used an infrared thermometer to take the body temperatures of local residents entering the district. After the equipment showed "normal," he said "OK" before waving goodbye.
Nami is from Canada. He said that the schools have not opened yet, so he decided to use his time and volunteer.
Nami speaks Chinese well, giving him an edge to communicate between foreign residents and local district officials.
Nami came to Tianjin more than a decade ago. During the Spring Festival holiday, he and his family traveled in Southeast Asia. The epidemic led to the cancelation of two flights he booked.
His brother asked him not to return to Tianjin out of concern for his health, but he tried for the third time.
"My home is in Tianjin," he said. "I just had to come back."
Nami bought another ticket.
"I thought that if it was canceled again, I should just go back to Canada," he said.
He made the flight.
After arriving in Tianjin and undergoing quarantine, he decided to help locals.
"I have a lot of friends in Tianjin," he said. "We need to get through this together."
Nami saw volunteers working at the gate of the district he lives in and decided that he would join them.
"When I saw the need at gate of our community with checking temperatures and IDs, I thought I should help out, no matter how insignificant that would be," he said. "We are all in this together, and the only way to arrive at a sustainable solution is cooperation, locally, nationally and internationally."
"This is the essence of my drive to take a small step: The Earth is but one country and mankind its citizens," he said.
He registered as a volunteer on the spot.
Nami's main job is to take the temperatures of the residents, check their entry permits and write down records of entries and exits. He wears a red band around his arm as a volunteer.
"I was quite moved by what he did," said resident He Sihai, who also joined the voluntary team.
Zhao Ming, who established the volunteer team, said that the district has foreign residents who stayed in Tianjin during the Lunar New Year.
"Sometimes we had to rely on translation applications for communication," Zhao said. "But since Nami came, it is so much easier."
Zhao praised Nami for being "down to earth" and "attentive."
"It is really nice of him to help us during this difficult period," Zhao said.
"As long as time and my physical condition permit, I will continue to volunteer," Nami said. "I believe we are stronger when we are united, regardless of our backgrounds or beliefs."