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“Shanglin County Clique’s” African Gold Rush: Get Rich or Die Trying (translation)

“Shanglin County Clique’s” African Gold Rush: Get Rich or Die Trying (translation)

Translated by Erik Myxter

On May 15th The 21st Century Business Herald out of Guangzhou published a thrilling article about Chinese illegal gold mining activity in Ghana.   The following is a translation of that article.

“上林帮”非洲淘金记:身家上亿或埋骨他乡
21世纪经济报道 梁钟荣 南宁、深圳报道 2013-05-15 00:57:39

“Shanglin County Clique’s” African Gold Rush: Get Rich or Die Trying

21st Century Business Herald   Reporting from Nanning: Liang Zhongrong   Shenzhen reported May 15, 2013

In the first picture a Chinese man is holding a big piece of gold, while his black bodyguard stands behind him holding an AK47;  In the second picture a young Chinese man holds his black wife in his arms while joyfully laughing.

These two pictures were sent from Tan Xinhua.  Mr. Tan introduces the photos, saying that the people in the picture all come from the same village in Shanglin County, Guangxi.  They also are all investors in Ghanaian gold mines. Some people say that in Ghana there are about 50,000 people who come from Shanglin County.  Often called “The Gold Coast”, Ghana’s  small-to-medium sized gold panning mines are almost all run by people from Shanglin.  They all mine nugget gold.

“There are restaurants where there are only Chinese people, if there is a place with gold, you will find people from Shanglin (county).” explains Tan Xinhua.  Mr. Tan is part of the post-80′s generation and like many young people from Shanglin County, he never finished high school before he left for Ghana.  In Kumasi, Ghana, there are many independent panners of gold, Tan Xinhua is one of them and for three years he has never returned home.  His only connection back home is through calling his parents.  His three-year goal is to become a millionaire.

The Shanglin Clique of gold miners first arrived over eight years ago.  The sweat and toiling of the miners, the instant riches, the armed fighting and the constant struggle which occurred in the American 18th century gold rush is now happening in Ghana.  Some people who are responsible for the fighting are deported, some have lost their lives to gang violence, others have contracted terrible diseases and been buried in this foreign place.

Most of the people who go to Ghana come back home;  Some people come back home with only a handful of gold to give to their loved ones; while others on their layover from Hong Kong to Guangxi, give a call to order their Nanning villa and a Ferrari.  In the last eight years, more than three people from Shanglin have shown actual proof that their net worth has been valued at over 100,000,000 yuan ($16 million).

At the same time, there is a seemingly irreconcilable, love-hate relationship between the Ghanians and the people from Shanglin.  From the view of a local, Shanglin businesses employ many workers,  but at the same time they burn an excessive amount of fuel; they contribute greatly to local taxes, but they also pollute the rivers greatly and the machinery used in mining devastates the land.  Moreover people from Shanglin have bought over 10,000 guns in Ghana, while at the same time they often get robbed.

From October 2012 to the beginning of this year, Ghana implemented an interdepartmental effort to deport many Chinese people. The Chinese government have participated in talks and negotiations regarding the matter.  But in this tense and unsafe atmosphere, the workers from Shanglin have continued their gold mining non-stop.

A Special Eye For Gold

Tan Xinhua left China for Ghana for the first time in 2010  and for one year he worked at a gold mine run by a fellow Shanglinian. On November 2011 he started his own venture.

The Shanglin area has a tradition of gold mining.  In the 90s there was a gold rush in Shanglin that brought peasants from all over China to Shanglin to mine gold.

Recalling that time Tan Xinhua explained,  ”The people from Shanglin, although small, have a strong group mentality, and a willingness to struggle against difficulties, that even makes the big and tall people from the north (of China) scared.  At that time, some North-easterners got involved in violent incident at a gold mine with some Shanglin people. The local police didn’t dare interfere, they had to bring in the Armed Police.”

Starting in 2005, one story quickly spread across the citizens of Shanglin and it started a rush to Ghana.  In this story one Shanglin man brought his entire savings of 5,000,000 yuan ($806,000) to Ghana and three years later was able to turn that into 100 million yuan ($16 million).

In Ghana, Shanglin people are concentrated in small gold mines located in Kumasi, Obuasi, Dakui city, and Jiaokui city. “The people who can come here, almost always also bring their relatives or friends along with them.”  says Tan Xinhua.  These days, Mr. Tan has around 30 relatives, classmates and friends in Ghana.  These people mostly come from three villages in Shanglin county; Mingliang, Dafeng, and Gangxian.  In total, these villages have a population of 30,000-50,000.

Ghana has the nickname of “The Gold Coast”, and gold panning in the area has over 100 years of history. Recently about 985 tons of gold has been discovered in Ghana, which makes it about 3% of all the world’s gold resources.  With this amount of gold, Ghana is behind South Africa as the Continent’s second largest gold supplier.

The earliest Chinese people to come look for gold in Ghana came from the city of Hei Longjiang.  It was then in the late 90′s when the atmosphere changed, people from Shuzhou, Hunan started coming over but met little success.  It was not until the people from Shanglin County came that Chinese people mined gold successfully.  ”Ghana-China’s mining cooperative secretary Su Zhenyu explains, Shanglin gold mining groups only mine nugget gold, to wash this type of gold one cannot leave water, because of the business of mining nugget gold is concentrated in Oder or Tano River banks.

Ghana’s Gold Coast has many large gold mines, the earliest being Newmont, Gold Fields, Anglogold and Ashanti that were run by British and American gold mining companies.  This type of beach-side gold was not fitting to the large gold mine company’s machinery, and the local Ghanian people’s panning methods were inefficient and the output was small, working this way was no good.

Then in 2005, Shanglin people took their pumping skills and brought them in Ghana. This completely changed Ghana’s gold extracting structure.  The way Shanglin people use the nugget pump is only something people from Shanglin County understand, and they do not transfer their knowledge to outsiders.  Because of this China gold workers exist in their own circles. Here, there is a popular saying, “People who are not from Shanglin cannot run the machines.”

In Ghana, most of the Shanglin business people cooperate with the local tribal chief (landlord).  In order to find a new place to mine and a place to live one must pay 20-30 thousand Ghanaian currency for an “entering the market fee”.   Tan Xinhua bought 25 acres of land for 25,000 Cidi ($12,500), this amounts to about 80,000 yuan.  If the land is used for growing crops, one just pays the average yield price for the year multiplied by 20.

The laws in Ghana regarding large mines and small mines are different: Mines that are less than 25 acres are suppose to be limited to local Ghanaian people to open, but Shanglin people have found a way around this law.

“All one needs to do is be on good terms with the local tribal chief and you can start working.”  Tan Xinhua says. “Because all the land belongs to the tribal chief, thus the mining rights are also in his hands, we could say, this is the tribal chief’s mine, we just help him extract (the gold).”

To strengthen the alliance with the local landlords, Shanglin people and the landlords sign a contract.  Often the landlord holds anywhere between a 10-12% stake in the mine.  Then everyday after mining, the landlord comes by to take his share and leaves.  There are also some other methods used, for example, every month the miners will give 10,000 Ghana currency to the landlord, this way the miners do not have to give the landlord mining rights.

How can one be sure if they land they bought has gold?  The man with only a middle school education, Tan Xinhua explains that the Shanglin people already have deep experience in finding gold, we can look at the land formation, wash a small bit of land and “In one casual look, know if there is gold here.”

Tan Xinhua’s mine employees five of his home village’s people and two local Ghanians. The local people’s salary are all set in stone; 1 day / 12 Cidi ($6) and have an average monthly salary of 280-300 Cidi ($140-$150) 3x times salary of the average Ghanian.  Many of the people who come from Shanglin are of the Zhuang minority group in China, and have cooperated with the local people for a long time, so much so that some of the local people can speak a little of the Zhuang people’s language.

This is in contrast to workers from Shanglin, who have a base salary of about 6000 yuan ($970) a month and on top of that they receive a commission of 2-3% on their findings.  ”In three years I have just been a laborer and have taken in about 300,000 yuan ($48,000) in income” says Tan Xinhua.

Ghanaian mining data shows that in 2011, the entire country of Ghana extracted 3.6 million ounces of gold, among this 30% came from small mines.   Su Zhenyu estimates, Shanglin people control about 40% of all small gold mines in Ghana.

Because of this, Shanglin has become an important town.  Many kinds of excavators, water guns and other machinery for excavating and sold and transported to Shanglin.  It is there where the machines are equipped specifically for gold excavation and finally they are sent through Shenzhen ports to Ghana.   This March has been the largest ever shipment from Shanglin to Ghana. This past March, Shanglin County has shipped over 100 cargo boxes full of equipment through Shenzhen’s Yantian port to Ghana.

The Soaring Gun Trade

With the development of Shanglin gold panners in Ghana getting rich, there has been a coinciding increase in the amount of armed robberies against them.  Last March, one person from Shanglin was robbed by the gunpoint of an AK47, in the end he was shot 27 times.

“In 2011, us gold workers in Kumasi used our guns twice.” Shanglin gold worker Li Zengquan said.  Both times they used them were in gun fights that happened during the day.  All in all, two Chinese and two Ghanians were killed in the firefight.

“While living in a foreign place, the most important thing to consider is preserving your life, making money is secondary.” says Shanglin gold collector Hu Xiongshi.  Mr Hu’s mining site often finds over 200 pieces of gold.   “If a few dozen robbers come, holding a few dozen guns, of course we have no way of fighting back, if we can give them some gold and some money, and nobody is hurt, this is fine.”

As for reporting crimes to the authorities, Shanglin business people have no hope.  ”What’s the use? You really think they could solve the case?” Tan Xinhua remarked.  If they report a crime, the police are more likely to come to the work site and extort them for money.  Mr. Tan explained that before when the police would come they would give them a a little money and they’d leave, now they have to give hundreds of yuan.

In order to keep safe, the Shanglin gold panners in Ghana often have three to four project teams live together and when they go to sell their gold they will also do it as a group, with seven or eight body guards watching their backs.  Many of the Shanglin gold panning teams have a few AK47′s on hand.  Where as gold miners often carry handguns and a few hunting rifles.  Often one can hear news broadcasted about a gun fight between Shanglin business people and local gangs.  It is estimated that there are over 10,000 guns in the hands of Shanglin gold workers and Chinese business people.  Going along with the increased demand the local price for a hunting rifle has risen from 1800 Cidi to 3000 Cidi or about 10,000 yuan ($1500).

In the Ghanaian forests there are many alligators, types of birds, tigers, and snakes. All of these animals the local people do not eat, but the people from Shanglin have guns and often upon enter the mountainous or lake areas they will go hunting.  Everyday they eat ant-eater meat, alligator soup, tiger soup; eating this food shocks the local people.

Shanglin gold panners also face another enemy in Ghana, the prevalence of diseases.  Ghana’s transmittable diseases are plenty and the mining areas are often in the deep forests, far away from the big city’s hospitals, if a person gets sick there is no chance to heal them, they will just become an exotic corpse.

Lately another major problem are visas.  Shanglin People in Ghana almost all use travel or non-work visas,  both coming from the third world country of Ghana.  These visas are not sufficient to work in Ghana, and often Ghanaian immigration bureau will deport workers.

In the past, when the immigration bureau authorities would come, you would just give them a few coolers of spring water, and a few hundred of the local currency and they would leave.” Tan Xinhua complains,”Now they will lock you up, exhort you for bail money and then let you go, or even worse they will deport you.”  And if the Shanglin people go and hide in the deep forest, the immigration bureau can take away the work sites’ machinery and equipment.  With one machine being worth more than 1 million yuan ($161,000), that’s a terrible loss to take.

Kumasi Becomes “Shanglin World”

It is said that with high risk comes high rewards.  ”In Ghana, only about 50-60% of gold miners end up making money.”  explains Hu Xiongshi.

Shanglin people’s investments into Ghanaian gold projects total at over 1000. If one would guess that each project is around 3 million yuan, that means Shanglin business people have invested over 3 billion yuan in Ghana.  These gold mining places most often have two excavators that in one day can find between 200-300 grams of gold.   If one is having a lucky day they can find over 1k, of course there are also those who fall into bad luck, where one day they only find 30-50 grams, even worse sometimes they end up with nothing.

If on an average day, in an average gold site miners find 300 grams of gold, and the international price of gold is 280 yuan a gram, that means in one day’s work they will make 100,000 yuan ($16,000), this of course does not factor in expenses. Although in one day a site can have tens of thousands of yuan in revenue, average yearly intake often does not amount to 10′s of millions of yuan.

Once Shanglin people extract their gold, they often sell it to people from Hunan, Zhejiang and Fujian, there are also some Indian and local buyers of the gold.  The buyers bring the gold to the international market to sell, where the price is set in accordance with that day’s international gold prices.   The end buyers earn the least amount of money from the transaction.

If it is people from Zhejiang or Fujian who buy for the international market, they rarely use local banks to remit their money, the majority of them transfer money by using their Chinese bank account to transfer money to a Shanglin person’s Chinese bank account.

A source from the Industrial and Commercial bank of Guangxi revealed that in May-June of 2011 Shanglin county financed over 1 billion yuan ($162.2 million) in foreign deposits, this grabbed national attention as Shanglin county’s 2012 fiscal reserves just surpassed 300 million yuan ($48.3 million).

To support the newly rich Shanglin people, cities like Kumasi are starting to resemble Chinese cities.   In the city there are Chinese restaurants, hotels, supermarkets, hotels, and KTVs. Although the local Ghanian people do not eat Chinese vegetables, but some grow these vegetables in order to meet the new demand.

Tan Xinhua complains that most of the goods come from China and are the same products that you would find in any Chinese cities but the price is 3x that of in China.   “Master Kang ramen noodles are 4 yuan ($.60) for on packet back home, but here they are 12 yuan ($2) each!  Lettuce is also 20 yuan a jin (1.1 pounds / 1/2 kg)”

Even though the business people from Shanglin mostly use machinery and equipment from China, the major brands all have service stations in Ghana.  ”Parts for our machines are also 3x the price as back home, using Chinese products is a love-hate relationship”

Chinese doctors are also very welcome here, as here you can make over 20,000 yuan ($3225) a month, some make even more.

Other service enterprises have also came to the area.  ”There is a boss from Fujian who started a large restaurant here, he just got over 100 servers from China to come with him.” says Tan Xinhua, “Of course, the servers monthly salary are all a few times more than what they could get in China, if they weren’t, how could they get them to come here?”

In Ghana, the majority of people from Shanglin are male, some of them simply marry local women, and have mixed children together.  There are even some Ghanaian wives who can speak fluently in the Zhuang people’s language.  As their children get older some people get a headache trying to decide whether or not they want to go back to China  for their children to receive an education.

Shanglin’s business people’s gold money has also made the local casino’s flourish.  In Shanglin gold panners are concentrated in Dunkua city. Some professional casinos have set up gambling games for the gold workers.  It is said that at least 20% of panners income enters into the casinos, some people have even lost their entire family fortune.

Tan Xinhua does not go to the casinos.  He hopes that in three years time he can accumulate at least 10 million yuan ($1.6 million).  With that money he could give his parents a big and safe place to spend their later years.  At the same time he wishes to buy a nice house in Nanning for himself, where he can live with the beautiful wife he will find.  Finally he hopes, “To open a tea house and sometimes talk to my customers about my experience panning for gold in Ghana.”

*From their own requests, Tan Xinhua and Hu Xiongshi are not the interviewees real names.

第一张照片,一个中国人捧着一大块黄金,背后站着手握AK47的黑人保镖;第二张照片,一个年青中国男子搂着他的黑人妻子,肆意地欢笑。

这是谭信华发来的两张照片。谭介绍说,图中的中国人都是他的广西上林县同乡,在非洲国家加纳投资金矿。有一说法称,在加纳,约有5万上林人。素称“黄金海岸”的加纳,现在几乎所有中小型淘金矿都是上林人的天下。他们以做砂金为主。

“有餐馆的地方就有中国人,有金子的地方就有上林人。”谭信华形容说。谭是80后,和许多上林的年青人一样,高中没读完就去了加纳。他在加纳的库玛西有自己的淘金生产线,他泡在那里,已经3年没回国,只用越洋电话和家中父母沟通。他的目标是未来3年内跻身千万富翁。

“上林帮”过去8年的加纳淘金旅程,像是美国18世纪西部淘金史的翻版:血汗、暴富、枪战,以命相搏。有人负债累累被遣返,有人在与黑帮的暴力冲突中丧生,有人患虐疾一病不起,埋在了异国他乡。

更多衣锦还乡的传奇也在上演:有人回乡一出手就送亲戚一块金砖 ;有人在香港转机回广西途中,用电话下单订购了南宁的别墅和法拉利跑车. 不下三位上林商人证实,这8年,他们的圈子中产生了6到8个身家上亿者。

大量被雇佣的工人,巨量的石油消耗,可观的税收,被污染的河流,被挖得千疮百孔的土地,上万支流落在上林商帮中的枪支,此起彼伏的抢劫,这一切使加纳人对于上林帮形成爱和恨两个矛盾的极端。

自2012年10月底到今年初,加纳发起数次遣返中国商人的多部门联合行动,中国政府已介入谈判,与加方交涉。在紧张不安的等待中,上林帮的采金作业仍在继续。

肉眼探金的绝技

谭信华2010年第一次出国就来到加纳,在上林人自己的金矿里打了一年工,2011年11月开始创业单干。

上林素有采金传统,上世纪90年代曾上演过“万名金农闯关东”。“上林人个虽小,但团结,敢斗狠,把牛高马大的东北人都打怕了。”谭信华描述说,“当时东北一些涉及上林人的金矿暴力案,当地警察都不敢管,要出动武警。”

从2005年开始,一个广为流传的故事又使上林人涌向了加纳。这个故事称,一个上林老乡带了全副身家500万跑到加纳,3年后就变成了1个亿。

在加纳的上林人多集中在库马西市、奥布阿西、打夸市、敦夸市,而这些是小金矿的集中地。“能出来的人,一般都会把亲戚和朋友都带出来。”谭信华说。谭目前就有30多位亲戚、同学及朋友在加纳。这些人主要来自上林县的明亮、大丰、巷贤三个镇,总数约在3-5万人之间。

加纳素有“黄金海岸”之称,黄金开采已有百年历史,目前探明黄金储量约985吨,占世界黄金总产量的3%,为仅次于南非的非洲第二大产金国。

“最早来加纳采金的中国人来自黑龙江,上世纪90年代末,湖南株洲人相继进入,但真正做成气候的是上林的采金者。”加纳·中国矿业协会秘书长苏震宇介绍说,上林采金群体以砂金开采为主,洗砂环节离不开水,因此砂金生意多集中在加纳的澳芬河、Tano River等河流沿岸。

加纳以岩金为主的大型金矿,早先被Newmont、Gold Fields、AngloGold Ashanti等英、美大矿公司圈走。只有河滩边的砂金,不适宜大型采金设备,而加纳本地人对砂金采用挖坑、搬料、淘金等人力方式,效率低、产量少,一直做不好。

直到2005年,上林人将砂泵技艺传入加纳,才彻底改变了加纳砂金开采的格局。上林的砂泵技术只有上林人才懂,技术不外传。因此在中国采金人圈子里,流传着“非上林人不组机”一说。

在加纳,上林商人一般和当地地主NANA(村庄酋长)合作,寻找持有采矿许可证的地主,缴纳2-3万塞地(注:加纳货币)的“进场费”。谭信华买的地是25英亩,交了2.5万塞地,相当于人民币8万元。买的地上如有农作物,则按农作物价值一次性赔偿20年。

加纳法律将金矿分大矿和小矿两类:25英亩以下小矿仅限加纳本国人开采。但上林人自有绕过法律关卡的办法。

“只要和酋长们说好条件,就能采。”谭信华说,因为土地是酋长的,矿产证也在他手里,我们可以说,这是本国酋长的矿,我只是帮他开采而已。

为了强化和地主们的利益联盟,上林人会与地主签约,地主占矿区股权的10-12%,每天产完金后,地主会在晚上过来将属于他的份额拿走。也有不同的方式,比如一个月给地主1万塞地,那就不用给地主矿权。

如何确定你买的土地有金?只有初中文化的谭信华介绍说,上林人已形成看金的独门经验:看地形,在开采前清洗一小片土地,“一看就知道有没有金”。

谭信华的矿雇有5个上林同乡、两个当地人。对当地人工资都是现结,一天给12塞地,平均月工资是280-300元塞地,是当地工资的三四倍。上林人多为壮族,与当地黑人相处久了,当地人也会说一点壮话。

至于上林籍的工人,则有6000元/月的底薪,外加每天产量2-3%的提成。“三年下来,就算只是打工,也有30万左右的收入。”谭信华说。

加纳矿业商会的数据显示,2011年,加纳全国黄金产量为360万盎司,其中30%来自小型矿场。苏震宇估计,上林人控制的小型矿场,实际的产量占比可能达到40%。

家乡因此成了上林人的设备重镇。众多挖掘机、钩机、水枪等被采购后运到上林,按金矿的需求重新改装,再通过深圳海关运往加纳。今年3月份最多时,上林县通过深圳盐田港发往加纳的设备就有100多个集装箱。

暴涨的枪支行情

随着上林淘金者在加纳发财,针对他们的抢劫案此起彼伏。3月份,一位上林人遇劫身亡,劫匪用AK47在他身上打了27枪。

“2011年一年,我们在库玛西的采金工地就被抢劫两次。”上林采金者李增全说,当时在白天发生了枪战,中加两方人员互有死伤。

“异国生存,首先是保命,财是次要的。” 上林采金者胡宏石说。胡的工地上常留有200克金子。“如果几十个劫匪来了,几十把枪肯定没法反抗,那就把这些金子和钱拿走吧,不伤人就好。”

对于报案,上林商人从不抱指望。“有什么用,能破案吗?”谭信华说,报了案,警察来工地敲竹杠会更频繁,先前每次塞给几十元人民币就会走,现在要给数百元。

为保安全,在加纳的上林淘金者常常三四个工程队住在一起,或是共同出去卖金,这样可以集中七八名保镖。很多上林淘金队手上都有几支AK47,金矿工地常备有手枪和八连发猎枪。经常有上林商人和匪帮枪战的消息传出。据估计有上万支枪支掌握在以上林淘金队为主的中国商人手中。由于需求水涨船高,当地8连发“来福”猎枪售价已从先前的1800塞地暴涨到3000塞地(约1万人民币)。

加纳森林盛产鳄鱼和其它各种鸟类、老虎、蛇,当地人从来不吃。上林商人们因为有枪,就经常跑到湖里和山里打猎,天天吃穿山甲肉,喝鳄鱼汤、老虎汤,把当地人都惊呆了。

上林淘金者面对的另一个大敌是加纳盛行的虐疾。加纳热带传染病多,矿区又多在森林深处,距开在大城市的医院较远,病了医治不及,就只能埋尸异国。

而最近才出现的威胁是,由于上林人在加纳绝大多持的是旅游签证而非劳务签证,都是从第三国进入加纳,签证先天不足,故常遭遇加纳移民局驱逐。

“先前移民局的官员过来时,拿几箱矿泉水,给几百塞地就可以把他们打发走,”谭信华抱怨,“现在会把你关起来,交更多的保释金才能放人,或是遣返。”如果上林人躲进丛林,移民局会将工地上的机械等物资都拿走,机器一台上百万元,损失惨重。

库玛西的上林小世界

与高风险相对应的是高收益。“在加纳的上林淘金者赚钱的几率是50-60%。”胡宏石说。

上林人在加纳投资的采金生产线超过1000条,以每条300万元成本计算,上林商帮在加纳的投资多达30亿元。这些淘金工地,一般一个工地配两台挖掘机,一天产200-300克黄金算是平均水平。运气奇佳者一天能采到1公斤;当然也有倒霉的,一天只有30-50克,甚至挂空挡。

一般工地如果每天采300克,按当前国际金价280元/克算,一天收入接近10万元人民币,扣除费用,一天仍有数万的收入,年入千万并非神话。

上林人在淘出金后,会把金矿转手卖给湖南人、浙江人和福建人,甚至还有印度和当地的购金者,买家多带到国际现货市场出售,售价按照当天国际金价下浮一定幅度后出售,买家吃的就是其中的利差。

如果是以浙江、福建人为主的国际买家,只有少部分通过当地银行汇款方式到卖家帐上,大部分的做法是直接在国内转帐到上林人在国内的户头中。

一位工商银行广西分行的人士透露,在2011年5、6月份,上林县曾经在半个月内金融系统涌入10多亿外来存款,引发国家层面的关注,因为上林县2012年财政收入才刚刚突破3亿元。

围绕着暴富的上林人,在库玛西等数个加纳城市里,出现了大小不一的中国城。城里中餐馆、酒店、超市、医院、KTV一应俱全。由于加纳当地人不吃蔬菜,甚至有人专门到库玛西种菜,供给上林商人。

谭信华抱怨,由于大多是从中国国内空运而来,中国城里的商品,价格一律是国内的3倍以上。“康师傅方便面国内是4块钱一包,这里是12块钱,而青菜则是20元/斤。”

由于上林商人多采用国内的机械工程设备,故此三一、柳工、力士德等都在加纳有服务网点。“零部件价格也是国内的三倍,爱要不要。”

中国医生在这里也极受欢迎,待遇可以达到2万元/月人民币甚至更多。

就连性服务行业也被带动起来。“有一个福建老板开了个酒楼,直接从国内带了上百个小姐过来。”谭信华说,“当然,小姐的月薪也是国内的几倍,否则谁会跑这来?”

在加纳的上林商人绝大多数为男性,有的直接娶当地女性为妻,生个黄黑相加的孩子,讲着一口流利的壮话。随着孩子长大,有的人开始头疼要不要带孩子回去接受国内的教育。

上林商人的金钱还带来当地赌场的繁荣。在上林采金人聚集的敦夸,一些赌场专门为淘金人设置赌博游戏,据传至少20%的淘金收入投进了赌场。有人为此倾家荡产。

谭信华从不光顾赌场。他希望在3年内积攒起千万的财富,然后给父母盖一个很大而安享晚年的大宅院,同时在南宁安家,娶一个漂亮的媳妇,“开一个茶庄,偶尔给客人讲讲我在加纳淘金的故事”。

(应受访者要求,谭信华和胡宏石为化名)

About Erik Myxter

Erik Myxter is a Confucius Institute student studying Chinese. Based in Guizhou, China, Erik has a bachelor's degree in Politics from Humboldt State University where he performed research on China's investments in Africa. He currently helps manage The China-Africa Project's Weibo site at http://www.weibo.com/zhongfeixiangmu.

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