Acts of Altruism – How an American couple brought their Asian daughters to Taiwan to experience the Taiwanese culture

Two weeks before arriving in Taiwan, Jennifer and her husband, who were from the United States, contacted Travel Consultant Amy to ask her to plan an itinerary for them and their six- and seven-year-old daughters. What struck out the most to Amy was Jennifer’s insistance on participating in the “Live as Local Sweet Potato Mama Volunteer Project,” and so of course she gladly helped to arrange that for them. On the day of the project, the eagerness with which the entire family had in selling the sweet potatoes made Amy realize that this was the main reason for their trip to Taiwan this time.

Jennifer was impatiently wanting to go outside to sell while Amy was still in the warehouse introducing the sweet potato mama. Despite it being in the heat of summer, Jennifer stopped just about everybody who walked by on the street, sometimes saying “Eat sweet potato” in Chinese, other times simply promoting the benefits of eating sweet potatoes in English. Her two daughters, who were responsible for collecting money, were also having fun and fully engaged in the activity. Thanks to the family’s efforts, there was a constant wait for freshly baked sweet potatoes because more were sold than there were available to sell.

Another unforgettable memory for Amy was her first meeting with Jennifer’s family and seeing that the two daughters were Asian while their parents were not. Amy speculated that Jennifer’s trip to Taiwan this time was also to provide the two daughters with an opportunity to experience authentic Taiwanese culture. Through selling the sweet potatoes, saying simple words such as “Hello”, “The sweet potatoes are good”, and “Thank you” in Chinese, and observing Taiwanese people’s daily lives on the street, it was a very direct and deep way to experience the culture.

At the end of her trip, Jennifer mentioned to Amy that she really enjoyed Hualien’s fried egg green onion pancakes and hoped to taste more. As such, Amy enthusiastically searched for the recipe online and even translated it into English so that Jennifer could create flavours of Taiwan back in her own kitchen in the United States. Jennifer also left a very long review on TripAdvisor, the longest that Amy has ever seen, filled with constructive critcisms of the positives and negatives as well as suggestions and gratitude. Amy was very touched, even more so because these were her first guests. To Amy, it was also a very valuable experience.

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