Monday, April 24, 2017

A Cultural Lesson

The Superkids team spent day 4 of this Taiwan trip at Chungyi Social Welfare Foundation. When it was close to lunch time, we learned that we will have lunch at Chungyi. A beautifully designed flower printed lunch box was laid down at the front of each seat. Along with the lunch boxes, there were three big fruit bowls, one for grapes, one for guava, and the last one is sliced pineapples.




While we were still waiting for the last child evaluation in the morning to complete, we were all standing there around the table. Jokingly, some young Chungyi social workers asked us if we knew  the meaning of pineapple in Taiwan. Several of us said we don’t know, but Janel, a Superkids volunteer, said that in Hawaii, pineapple means “welcome.” She was expecting it means the same thing in Taiwan. Vina, a young Chungli staff member continued, “pineapples in local dialect in Taiwan means PROSPERITY. So we social workers do not eat it at all.” That statement puzzled me, and other Superkids volunteers as well. What? Your social workers don’t like being PROSPEROUS? Isn’t it that being prosperous is a goal that many people pursue? I looked around and found my colleagues eagerly waiting to learn why Chungyi social workers turn down prosperity.

The girls were giggling, naturally as they noticed the puzzled looks on our faces, so they went on to explain.



“Prosperity is a good thing, but social workers, as case workers, do not want to be “prosperous.” To them, being prosperous means the increase of case numbers, hence work load. Giggling young social workers even pointed one of Jane, a colleague of theirs, saying that the last time when she had pineapple, the next day, she got two new cases from Penghu Island.  Everyone began laughing. Penghu is one of the 64 islands from the Taiwan strait. This means she had to travel to that island when there is a need. That means hardships.

Erin was quick in thinking. She said you all should have pineapple. Prosperity, when it comes to inter-country adoption, is a positive thing. We would like to see more and more children going to families through adoption! So, let’s try pineapples. Several plastic forks were extended, immediately.    

-written by Gongzhan Wu (program director)