Thursday, June 13, 2013

Visiting an aboriginal family

Last week we drove to the southern part of Taiwan. We went there to visit other homeschooling families. Two of the families we met were aborigines living in an abandoned village of Da-she 大社. Four years ago the village was bustling with life, now only four families live there.

What happened?
In August 2009 the whole village was evacuated after one of the deadliest typhoons on record has cut it off from rest of civilisation. The only road leading to the village was ruined, but the village itself stayed intact. Some time later people were given an alternative place to live - a house in purposely built village at the bottom of the other side of the mountain. Most people agreed and signed papers giving up their home in Da-she. Only four families did not agree to leave their ancestral home. They returned to the mountains and started their difficult life there.
Since they didn't want to relocate, the local government had to pay for the road construction. Unfortunately whenever it rains harder, the road gets washed away or more rocks fall onto it. The road construction is never ending.

The road we were driving suddenly ended and we had to make a U-turn on a road
just wide enough for the length of our car.

The families we met, together have five kids (4 boys and 1 girl) - the youngest is just over a year old and the oldest is graduating from primary school. Until last year three kids were attending a school 7km away, on the other side of the mountain. The dangerous and unpredictable state of the road and the problems kids were facing in the school surrounded by children from a different branch of the same aboriginal tribe, have prompted the parents to apply for homeschooling.

Zosia and Jaś with new friends
 Their life is not easy - kids not only have to study (there are some volunteer teachers coming to teach them), but also need to help in the field, go hunting and build shelters. From what I've observed all the children are very well behaved, are interested in many things (i.e. photography and English language), like to read and have a vast knowledge about their tribe and culture. These are some really wonderful kids!
They live in very simple conditions - no hot running water, sometimes no power, they eat mainly what they grow, hunt and gather.
I truly admire these people.

To read Zosia's report (in Polish) on our visit in Da-she, please go to her blog.
Jaś also wrote a few words (in English) about that trip on his blog.

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