Dai Jingang's Ethiopian patient wanted to know why Dai was sticking so many needles into her body. After all, the problem was with her right ankle not her left ankle, calf, or arm.
Dai, 25, is a graduate of the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine. He went to Nazret, Ethiopia, in August of 2005, to work for six months as part of a group of young medical volunteers.
He soon realized, however, that he needed to give lessons on Chinese culture along with his treatments.
Dai also had to overcome people's bias about his youthful age.
"When I arrived at the hospital, an old nurse who had worked previously with a Chinese acupuncture doctor doubted me," Dai said. "She didn't tell me, but I could feel it. However, after seeing the positive effects, she gradually began to believe in me."
In one of the cases he dealt with, a 12-year-old girl with facial paralysis, came to Dai after trying many other treatments.
After only a week of acupuncture, Dai said, there was an improvement. After three more weeks her condition got even better.
However, Dai did more than just practise medicine in Africa. He discovered a whole new world one that cannot be easily explained in a 60-second news report or a Hollywood movie.
"It's true, there are many diseases and poor people, but Ethiopia has another side," said Dai. "For one thing, it's developing quickly."
While living in Nazret, Dai enjoyed walking through the streets, children running up to touch his skin and hair.
When people saw him coming, they called out "China!" or "Jackie Chan!"
"They thought I was rich because I was from China, so I felt proud of my country," said Dai. "When I came back to China, I knew that China was indeed seen as an important nation."
Since returning to Beijing to continue his postgraduate study, Dai has maintained his connections with Ethiopia.
Not too long ago, he helped cure the asthma of an Ethiopian friend living in Beijing with a combination of Western and traditional Chinese medicine.
(Xinhua News Agency November 3, 2006)