|Feature: Kenyan girl with Chinese blood steals limelight|
Her fate is totally changed after groups of Chinese visited her village to study the cultural relics left by an ancient Chinese fleet. And suddenly she steals the limelight as she is invited to visit
Her name is Mwamaka Sharifu, a 19-year-old graduate of
On Thursday evening, she took the flight to
"I want to see the place where my ancestors live," said Sharifu, adding that she is going to explain to her hosts why there are Chinese descendants living along the coast of east Africa.
Sharifu was born in the remote
Many archaeologists and journalists who visited Lamu believe the wrecked ship must be one of the Zheng He's grand fleets, which visited
"I look forward to visiting China and studying in the Chinese university," said Sharifu, adding that she'd like to choose medical science as her major so that she will be able to come back to help her fellow Kenyans.
None of her friends is as lucky as Sharifu: besides the upcoming root-finding trip, the Chinese government also offered her scholarship to pursue a bachelor's degree in
The Chinese embassy and some private Chinese have offered financial assistance to the Lamu schoolgirl. And with the help of the embassy, the Ministry of Education of
"This year marks the 600th anniversary of the navigation from
She also got recommendations from Athman Lali Omar, head of Coastal Archaeology National Museums of
"I'd like to salute the Chinese for seeing her through at least to secondary school level. And I would like to congratulate Mwamaka Sharifu for pursuing in her study to this level and also for her interest to go further in her education," he said.
The Lamu islands of north
The Siyu village on Pate island has around 2,300 people, according to the village chief Bwana Ahmedi Maka. Among them, there are still about 30 people who are believed to be the offspring of the ancient Chinese sailors.