Taiwan, a newly developed country, has such a contrast... a paradox if you will... of rich and poor, high-end mega-malls and shanties. A few weeks ago, we had the opportunity to leave our private, Christian international school and spend an afternoon in the mountain village of Lai Yi. Our friend, Jim, took us along with his family for their bi-monthly English classes at a small village church. We spent the first half with the young children, and the next with the youth.
The village of Lai Yi is the home of an indigenous people group, who much like native Americans, have been moved by the government from their original high mountain lands and 'compensated'. This village has had th benefit of a relationship with faithful missionaries for many years and many have the hope of Jesus. However, they still deal with many of the same issues as North American natives... alcohol, lack of education opportunities, and a loss of heritage, language and culture.
|The "brown" sides of the hill are where the mountain fell into the river.|
On top of these "normal" challenges, Lai Yi was also hit extremely hard by typhoon Marokot in 2009, and another big typhoon in 2010. The sides of the mountain literally came down, wiping out bridges, homes, and closing their school for months. A new river sprang up right through the school. Our students at MAK had the opportunity to put together shoe boxes of gifts and school supplies for the children there. It was a privilege to be invited in and to meet the sweet people who continue striving for a better future, in spite of the challenges.
The youth we met were wonderful! They are smart, witty, and fun-loving. We look forward to going back again and taking our basketball shoes. :)