Before participating in the Tsunah tour, the most I knew about Taiwan was that it was a small island where my parents grew up and some of my relatives live. My parents would only go back once every few years to visit family, and recently, to attend a funeral. I never had many memories of Taiwan besides, relatives, night markets, bubble tea, and 7-Elevens.
However, taking part on this tour opened my eyes. There is more to Taiwan than bubble tea. We visited only a few out of all the historical sites in Taiwan, and even though I normally do not like history or politics, the struggles that Taiwan had to endure were both fascinating and horrific. From the protest for democracy in the Kaohsiung incident, to Cheng Nylon’s death for freedom of speech, and the current fight to be recognized as a country, Taiwan has been through so many obstacles to obtain the basic rights many Americans probably take for granted every day. The most surprising part? Many of these protests took place less than thirty years ago.
For the first time in my life, I had never felt so grateful and proud to have parents from such a wonderful place, and I want to cry sometimes because I can’t believe that Taiwan is still not recognized as a country despite that it has its own history, its own government, its own elections, its own language, and so many other things that set it apart from China.
Although the tour did make an effort to inform us attendees about the political history of Taiwan, it wasn’t the sole focus. The hike through Taroko Mountains was an amazing experience to see the nature side of Taiwan. We never got to see any of the monkeys, but I’m guessing that’s a good thing because they supposedly throw rocks at tourists. It was the first time I’ve ever been to a mountain park too, so it was fun learning about the different types of flora and fauna that appeared there. There were also other activities like biking in Lo Tong Athletic Park in I-lan, and visiting and indigenous tribe to learn about their culture as well.
Overall, the Tsunah foundation does a great job organizing this tour and brings a fresh perspective of Taiwan. There are many things I haven’t been able to mention, but I encourage people to give it a chance and participate if they have not traveled around Taiwan outside of Taipei and the usual night markets. It was a wonderful experience to meet so many people and to take part in this tour.