Meet the Iranian man who stayed in Wuhan to help fight pandemic
By Xia Ruixue
Wuhan was once the epicenter of COVID-19, as its people lived through a 76-day lockdown. Many foreigners were stranded in the city, but some chose to stay back and help fight the pandemic. Sina Karami, an Iranian man, is one of them.
Sina is a barista of Wakanda Youth Coffee. He came to the city to study two years ago. He likes the city. When Wuhan was hit by COVID-19 back in January, Sina had the chance to go back to his hometown in Iran. But he chose to stay.
"I was living in Wuhan in good time when the city was peaceful and happy. Everything was good here. But now when it's in trouble, why should I leave it? No. I'm not going to leave this place during this situation," he said. When Wuhan was officially locked down on January 23, Sina and his friends decided to use their business to help frontline medical workers by giving them free coffee.
Seven staff at the establishment worked two shifts and brewed 500 cups coffee ensuring its regular deliveries to nearby hospitals twice a day--that was the daily routine for the team at Wakanda Youth Coffee.
"I was really happy because I know that this is something can help doctors and nurses. Even if it's a small help, even if it is a small coffee cup, this can make a difference. And this can show them that people are watching you. People care about what you are doing. So from the first day, when we started to do that, I got really happy. I was thinking…oh, I am doing something now. I didn't leave Wuhan; I stayed here. I'm doing something. That was really great for me," the man said.
Touched by their story, people on the internet flooded them with donations by paying the business through a food app.
Sina told CGTN that "We did small things. Many people did better than us. So even from now, what we have done, we should forget about it and start to do more and more, and work harder, really harder at least one year to make Wuhan better… to make all the city better."
When the lockdown was lifted in April, Wuhan continued to take stringent preventive measures for a couple of months.
The pandemic control measures were tough for small businesses, including Wakanda Youth Coffee, which has already suffered substantial losses during the lockdown. But things are finally looking up.
"About our business, every week is getting better. But it still needs two months, three months to get to 30- 40 percent (of the sales volume) before the epidemic. We are not getting money," Sina said. "But we're sure that Wuhan will get better and better. Now, I feel I really love this city. I don't want to leave it. I want to stay here. Something good happened to me during this time. I decided to stay here for a long, long time," he added.