I think most of us today would find cooking difficult if we were living in the 1950s. Arthur Stejskal writes that cooking was "Simple, with one propane burner, a small tin oven (for making our bread as there were no bakeries), a wok, and some saucepans. The propane was shipped from Chiayi on the west coast so it was always ordered well in advance. In 1959, while living in Chengkung on the East Coast—bean sprouts, lotus root, cabbage and rice were our main diet during the summer when it was too hot to grow green vegetables. We bought fish from the harbor, fatty pork, and some scrubby chicken, and an occasional good meal of sea turtle. Years later in Taitung we enjoyed a daily farmer's market with a variety of fresh vegetable, pork, fish, and poultry." Margaret Aldis, who with her husband, Gordon, served with OMF from 1954 to 1976, remembers that the meat available was "mainly pork, later beef (mostly sold to Muslims)." Ellen Giebel, who served with OMF from 1951 to 1992, reports about the open air markets that, "in early days the food would be wrapped in large green leaves and tied with a long dried grass; meat was cut from a large carcass hanging up." Carl Hunker writes about food, "Because of the large number from China, the economic situation was a struggle for both nationals and missionaries. It was difficult to buy favorite foods from abroad—sometimes we could find in certain stores dry cereals, Jell-O, cake mixes, etc., but sometimes we were so disappointed because they tasted so old. (I was told these delicacies were black market.)"

    Communications were understandably much less developed. Mary Hanson comments, "In the earliest years, any local (on Taiwan) pressing communication was by telegraph. Later in the 60s we had `Special Delivery' that would reach any place on the island within twelve to eighteen hours." Art Stejskal describes telephone service, "In the late 50s and early 60s, we went to the postal communications office two weeks before making the call, paid in advance for `X' number of minutes of telephone service from a telephone number in Taitung to a telephone number in the USA. Then from a phone in our house we could contact the operator on the prearranged day at the scheduled time and she connected us for the number of minutes we prepaid for, then cut us off mid-sentence when our time was up."

    Art Stejskal also remembers riding on the trains of the day, "A number of segments of the railroad system were one way on a single track (like the line from Taitung to Hualien). The block system at stations which had double tracks for passing was hand passed keys, which the train conductor reached out and grabbed as he approached the station, had stamped at the station, and passed onto a wire as the train left the station. Stalled trains were pushed by the passengers to the next station, so the oncoming train could pass." And of the intercity buses he writes, "There were two buses per day going north, up the coast or south to Taitung. In typhoon season there was often no transportation for days until the roads/railroads were repaired." Carl Hunker adds about local transportation, "Of course, pedicabs, and bicycles, and rumbling buses were our mode of transportation. Few of us had cars. Taxis were large old cars and would be overloaded with six, or seven, or eight passengers." International travel was not nearly as easy as it is today. Margaret Aldis comments that international travel was "by sea until 1960. (It took over a month to the UK.)"

    Of course, the economics of living in Taiwan has dramatically changed over the last several decades. Art Robinson, who served with the Southern Baptists from 1965 to 1990 reports, "Our amah was paid US$25 a month for which she worked six days a week, eight hours a day. We were able to have a sewing lady make clothes for US$1 a day. She could usually finish one and a half garments a day." Glen Graber remembers an "opportunity to purchase a Japanese style house for $3,500." Try budgeting with those figures today!

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