China is everywhere in the global news these days, receiving an outsized share of attention for its fluctuating stock market, its push against graft and corruption, its preoccupation with cybersecurity and the development of its islands in the South China Sea.
The coverage is a reflection of both the size and power of the world's second-largest economy and the media's natural attraction to a big story.
But there's a little-told story about China, one that's near and dear to my heart. It's happening more than 12,000 kilometers from Beijing in a country few Chinese or US citizens have visited, but that I called home for more than two years.
Liberia, a small country on the West African coast, is as poor now as it was when I worked there 30 years ago. Perhaps poorer. In the intervening years, it has struggled with one crisis after another, from an agonizing civil war that tore the country apart to an outbreak of Ebola that threatened each small gain it had made to get back on track.
Yet from China, the people of Liberia have received new hope and a critical assist in reclaiming their future.
Just last week, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf offered effusive thanks to China for its many contributions toward Liberia's post-war development, citing the country's significant help in the specific areas of health, infrastructure and education.
She especially praised China's response during the recent Ebola outbreak, which struck the country as it already was coping with a fragile economy, poor security, a weak healthcare system, and insufficient doctors, hospitals and clinic beds.
The list of challenges Liberia faced during the Ebola crisis was daunting. The UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Liberia, Karin Landgren, described it at the time as the country's "gravest threat since its decade-long civil war ended in 2003".
China stepped up to the task.
"China was the first to respond to Liberia's need during the Ebola crisis with materials and equipment. China also sent a cargo plane loaded with equipment and materials worth $1.8 million, and constructed a 100-bed Ebola Treatment Unit and equipped it with trained medical staff," the president said.
More than 4,800 people died of Ebola in Liberia. It was the hardest hit among the affected West African countries and it was only declared Ebola-free this month. For most people, the death toll was just that, a number. But for me, the dead were people I knew: former students, former colleagues and former neighbors from the seaside village where I taught high school.
And still, China isn't done. Last week, China's Ambassador to Liberia, Zhang Yue, told the Daily Observer in Monrovia that China had more contributions to make in Liberia in an effort to "break the bottlenecks" that have hampered development.
Liberians have a saying: "A little rain each day will fill the rivers to overflowing."
China, with little fanfare, is doing its part to seed the clouds and make it rain.