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Live As A Local

Zhongzheng District, Taiwan
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Live As A Local
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RedLineSky wrote a review Sep 2016
11 contributions2 helpful votes
I am not usually one to book tours but after reading about how the Genesis Social Welfare Foundation helps single mothers by selling sweet potatoes, I knew I had to book this one. My money was used for a wonderful cause and my time was well spent. I met Jonathan at 11:30am at Shando Temple Station and from there he took me back to the company's home base. He explained the inner workings of the Taiwanese welfare program and the fascinating methods used by the GSWF. He then explained how each of the carts used to cook/ sell potatoes were designed to be efficient and translated the meaning and significance of each sign attached. I was also lucky enough to try out their monstrous potato washing machine, which is a wonder all on its own! After this, we went to meet our sweet potato mama and got to work selling the potatoes. In the early September heat, this was certainly a challenge but if the mamas can do it all day every day, you certainly can too. In order to do this, you pick up a few Chinese phrases such as “Thank you,” “Would you like to buy a sweet potato?” and “Delicious sweet potatoes!” These phrases were so drilled into my head I swear I dream of them. This experience was both incredibly rewarding, educational, and fun. Johnathan was a gracious and genuine guide. He answered all of my questions about the program, Taiwan, and otherwise. He was interested in making sure I had a worthwhile experience, even at the expense of his own time. 그리고 한국어 잘 해요! Yet, of course, the icing on top for this tour was my mama. While we could communicate mostly through Johnathan and there was a lot left unsaid, I was glad to connect with her. Of Aboriginal descent, she was able to tell me a bit about her life living in Taipei and even showed me pictures of her beautiful daughter, An-ee. Seeing her work hard in the heat to sell 2 potatoes for 50TWD really puts the spirit in you to work hard and appreciate everything you have. I wish her and her daughter all the best and will certainly be buying more potatoes in the future. Would I do this again is not even a question. The question is when. I would 100% recommend this tour to anyone looking to break out of the travelers bubble. Thank you Johnathan and Mama. (Also, I learned there that Taiwanese receipts have a lotto number on them and that you can donate them to the program in hopes that they win! I hope my donation was a winner.)
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Date of experience: September 2016
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Paul Max wrote a review Jul 2016
Changi, Singapore76 contributions11 helpful votes
For many of us, work is just an office job with stress on deadlines. But for women like 曾媽媽, stress is trying to sell a bag of sweet potatoes for just NT50 to make ends meet and send her child to school - in the hot Taiwanese summer. I've had the huge honour and privilege to spend an hour with this brave lady to understand what she goes through daily. I'm very blessed to be able to hold down a cushy office job and I will always remember 曾媽媽's story when I feel like complaining about my job. Today's activity wasn't about me helping her. She helped me.
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Date of experience: July 2016
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Willy S wrote a review Dec 2015
4 contributions3 helpful votes
On our Free & Easy days we decided to discover riding the MRT for adventure since we are urban folks where our Toronto, Ont. Canada subway is ~30 miles away from our home. Tolpology located our Just Sleep hotel only ~3 minutes away and we were totally thrilled with Alan's selection. Kudos to the transportation department of Taipei who have done a tremendous and efficient job of modernizing mass transport infrastructure. Must admit getting confused with our direction of travel but recognized our error and remedied it after a stop or two. To crown it all, the fares are so cheap compared to what Torontonians have to pay. Very simple method to obtain tickets, fast and accurate. Very impressed with the progress made in Taipei. I am envious of the excellent transportation system available there.
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Date of experience: November 2015
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Liz D wrote a review May 2015
14 contributions7 helpful votes
As soon as I read about this program, I booked a slot. I wanted to do something different on my visit and get to help out too. I met Steve and Jonathan at Shandao Temple mrt and they told me firstly about the program itself. Because of higher divorce rates and the apparent inflexibility of hours for working single mums, they told me the founder wanted to help these mums be able to work. I was 1st taken to the warehouse where they store the carts, and shown the facilities there. The guys also told me the carts the mommas use have had around 100 modifications to make them the best to use. I got to see the potato washing machine and the flags the mommas put on the carts to make people aware of the foundation too. We then went to meet a momma, who was setting up her cart on a street in one of the office areas ready to catch the lunchtime workers. 1st off I sat and prepared the sweet potatoes ready to roast, and when they were ready I was taught "Hao chi de di gua" "Delicious sweet potato" so I could call it out to attract the passers by! We all stood calling this out and after a bit, we had quite a few customers as well as a lot of attention. Even if people didn't buy, we could still show them why we were there and, of course do our best, or in Mandarin, "加油!". This was such a good experience, you have to leave your nerves behind and don't be shy to talk to passers by and sell. Later in the day I saw a customer we had sold to when I was out shopping and she remembered me! If I go back to Taipei, I will do this again, and I really recommend doing this because you learn about more than just the tourist stuff. My momma was kind and friendly and Steve and Jonathan were excellent guides!!
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ppun o wrote a review Aug 2014
Toronto, Canada3 contributions2 helpful votes
My wife and I read some of the reviews on trip advisor and we decided to contact Peter about signing up. Peter went out of his way for us to experience this tour as it wasn't supposed to be available during the time we were there. It was very easy to meet him and he took us on a tour of the area where the sweet potatoe mamas get their carts, and pick up their supplies. We then went out with him and met a local sweet potatoe mama. We asked her many questions about her job and life and Peter was there to help translate. We were taught some important chinese vocabulary and we're able to help sell some sweet potatoes for the mama. It was a great day and an awesome experience. I highly recommend this tour to anyone traveling through taipei. It's an extremely unique experience. Peter was very easy to talk to and he really showed us a great time. Thanks Peter!
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