Rio: Helping to build up Brazil

Updated: 2015-06-02 05:49

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Rio: Helping to build up Brazil

Technical staff from China CNR Corp's Changchun Railway Vehicles Co prepare for the use of two new made-in-China subway trainss on May 11 at Rio's subway station services segment. XU ZIJIAN / FOR CHINA DAILY

"I will go to China on May 22 for the ceremony of completion of the 15th train, which means that the second shipment is entirely ready. The trains are very good and increase the transport capacity of Rio's subway system. The Chinese trains are cheap, but modern and comfortable. We are very happy," he said.

In Chinese boats

Due to the high cost of living in Rio, many people live in neighboring Niteroi, but they work in the state capital because that's where most jobs are, so they must take a ferry across the Guanabara Bay every day.

Many of the ferries were made in the 1960s and 1970s. But one blue ferry stands out, the Pao de Açucar (Sugar Loaf in Portuguese), which was manufactured in China.

"The new ferry came this year, and every day I hope I can catch it, because it is the most comfortable one. Taking this ship to work, I can be in a good mood all day long!" said Marcio, a bank teller.

Inside the Sugar Loaf, the only air-conditioned boat among Rio-Niteroi ferries,there are various amenities, including drinking water, toilets, a bar, seating for disabled people and bike racks.

Boat captain Jorge Oswaldo de Freitas said he feels "very good driving the boat. And this ship always requires two crew members in the cockpit, and that guarantees safety."

Peng Liang, a Chinese engineer with China Shipping's Afai Shipyard, said that in the first year after delivery, Chinese engineers are on the ferry every day to solve any problems or concerns from the Brazilian side.

The Sugar Loaf makes just six trips during rush hours. Many passengers complain about not being able to travel on the ferry, but that will not last long because the Rio de Janeiro state government bought seven similar ferries, and those are coming.

Bilingual school

The Joaquim Gomez de Souza Math High School, located next to the beach in Niteroi, is the first Brazil-China bilingual school in the country. You can hear the Chinese greeting of ni hao! when you enter.

Cai Zhaoliang, a volunteer teacher from Hebei University in China is running a Chinese-language class:

"What's your name? What's your name in Chinese?" "My name is Han Jiarui." "My name is Mo Manni."

All students in the school have a Chinese name. Besides the language, they also learn the traditional Chinese instrument hulusi, Chinese chess and calligraphy. Tai Chi Chuan and Jian zi were added to physical education classes. Occasionally, the school organizes exhibitions of traditional Chinese culture and takes students to the theater to see Chinese performances.

Professor Cai Zhaoliang, volunteer teacher from Hebei University, teaches at the school and also gives Chinese courses at the Confucius Institute of the Pontifical Catholic University (PUC) of Rio de Janeiro. According to him, "Teaching at the Confucius Institute is very different from the college, where all students already have a satisfactory level of English. Here many students cannot communicate with us in English. We have to study Portuguese, or ask for help from teachers in English for translations."

All Chinese teachers at the school live in Rio, and spend more than two hours commuting to Niteroi. Li Su Tianke, another volunteer teacher, said that "every day I get up at 4 in the morning to teach a class at seven at the school. But my students are making progress every day. To me, it is a great success. And I do not feel so tired. The students and their progress compensate for all the tiredness."