From grassroots.Walking with and for the Tayal. Taiwan. SDG10 EN

 


Walking with and for the Tayal

Arturo Morales cmf

Sacerdote Misionero Claretiano

            

The Claretian missionaries have been serving in Taiwan for more than 25 years. One of our options has been the service to the aborigines, especially the Amis, who are concentrated in large numbers in Taipei. Almost four years ago, the Archbishop of Taipei asked us to take over the Parish and Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima at Wulai, as it is an aboriginal area.

 

            It has been challenging and enriching to take on this commitment, mainly because we were used to doing our service with aborigines who came to Taipei from other areas of Taiwan, while Wulai is the land of the Tayal. This tribe differs in almost everything from the Amis: the Amis are fishermen and farmers, living in flatter areas and by the sea, while the Tayal is hunters and live in the mountains.



Wulai is made up of 5 Tayal villages, the main one being Wulai. There and in Fushan, there is a certain Catholic presence. Fushan is the most inland village of the area and difficult to reach.

 

            The name of the area, Wulai is a Tayal word that we can translate as "thermal waters" there has been a whole economic and tourist development based on the thermal waters, being the owners, Taiwanese and the local people working for them.

 

            The Parish has a history of more than 50 years, where we can highlight the passing of Father Emil Mohr sds. (Molu, his name is Tayal), an Austrian Salvadorian religious who, despite having left the place more than 20 years ago, is still very loved and remembered, especially those who knew him.

 

            When we arrived at the Parish we found a small community, but a group of young people and Christians who are willing to grow and are open to trying new things.

 

            At the parishioners themselves we tried to form a community of children. Soon after we had more than 20 and together with the young people, we started the summer camp again with a participation of 30 children, coordinated and carried out by the young people.

 

            We started workshops in the Tayal language, and as a result, their dialect was gradually incorporated into our celebrations. Nowadays, part of the mass is in their dialect, as well as almost all the songs. It has been a cultural reflourishing.

 


            But that was not all; there was a great desire not only to grow and serve within but also outside, towards the community.

 

            In Wulai, the Parish gave space for a branch of the Cardinal Tien Catholic Hospital, where there is rehabilitation therapy, and a doctor goes three days a week. The hospital asked us to work with them, and so we opened a space in the Parish for the elderly with specific health problems (especially with A.V.E.). One of our parishioners is responsible for them and attends them from Monday to Friday from 9 am to 3 pm, where they are provided with lunch, a service that is maintained until now.

 

            Fushan was more challenging: far from the center and with far fewer financial and personnel resources, there to we wanted to do something for the community, especially where the path of drugs, alcohol, and violence is straightforward.

 

            We focused on the children to prepare them better for the future. There is a basic school where about 15 children attend (there are more than 20 teachers), so after classes, we invite them to the Chapel to help them with their homework and give them reinforcement. We started with a few of them, and thanks to God, it is a service that we provide now, practically to all of them. We adapt the Chapel to receive the children and give them dinner; they also participate in cultural activities typical of the tribe and learn songs, dances, etc.

 

 

            This allowed us to increase the links with the educational community and the director of the school offered us his facilities to carry out this service, which has made the service we provide much easier and better. We have received a lot of help from innumerable people and groups who want to support us in this service, so we have never lacked food and materials.

 

            We have so many to thank, but basically, I would like to thank all the parishioners who have shared this vision of the Church and have launched themselves into service following Christ's command: to want to serve others to meet Him.

 

Arturo Morales cmf

Sacerdote Misionero Claretiano

Comments