Diarra Boubacar prepares for cupping therapy. [Photo by Liu Song/for chinadaily.com.cn]
Dressed in a white gown with pens in pocket, 53-year-old Diarra Boubacar was welcomed by the Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital in the Xindu district of Chengdu in Southwest China"s Sichuan province, as a specially invited expert.
Born in the African country of Mali, Boubacar continued the family tradition of training to be a doctor at Malian Medical College, earning his degree in 1984. He then joined a government-sponsored program to continue his study in China.
In his freshman year, Diarra was the only one in his class to earn a grade as low as 40 percent. The frustrated man did not buckle under the hardship of learning the ancient Chinese language to read traditional Chinese medicine classics, and he developed an obsession with TCM.
During his years in China, Diarra has studied in different cities like Beijing, Guangzhou and Chengdu, and after a long journey, he finally got his post-doctorial degree. In 1994, he became the first foreigner to get a Ph.D in acupuncture at the Chengdu Traditional Chinese Medicine College.
After obtaining his medical degree in Sichuan province, he joined Medicins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) to help patients in remote villages in Sichuan and Yunnan provinces.
The Chinese language is no longer a challenge to him. In fact, he can tell the difference between Sichuan and Chongqing dialects, and even slight differences between dialects of different counties.