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 A Gift of Masks from Taiwan
   One hundred years ago, Canadian Presbyterians donated to establish a high school in Taiwan. After WWII, Canadian Presbyterians helped to negotiate properties taken first by the Japanese and then the Nationalist Chinese. In the 1960s, the Women’s Missionary Society gave
generously to build the beautiful chapel on the Tamkang campus.
Louise Gamble and the mayor of Owen Sound, Ont., Ian Boddy.
By Louise Gamble,
retired mission staff to Taiwan
Protestant missionary work began in northern Taiwan when the Rev. Dr. George Leslie Mackay arrived from Oxford County, Ont. In 1872, work be- gan in the town of Tamsui with three young men. When the Rev. Dr. Mac- kay died in 1901, there were 61 con- gregations as well as schools and a hospital in northern Taiwan. The result was the establishment of the Presby-
terian Church in Taiwan. The Rev. Dr. MacKay was not a medical doctor, but he had some training and promoted a scientific western style of medical treatment. Today, the MacKay Memo- rial Hospital has auxiliary hospitals and clinics throughout the island, and a well-deserved reputation.
I have lived in Taiwan since 2001, involved in an intense research project about the Canadian Mission in North Taiwan. I lived on the campus of Tam- kang Middle School, which was es- tablished in 1914 by Canadians. The connection with Canada is symbol- ized by a Canadian flag on the school emblem.
Taiwan has been extremely suc- cessful in controlling the coronavi- rus. There has been no community spread, and the only active cases are people returning from infected coun- tries. They are quarantined in a gov- ernment facility for 14 days, ensuring there is no fur ther problem.
Taiwan learned early about the vi- rus, and immediately put into action a public health protocol that was cre- ated following the disastrous SARS epidemic (2002–2004), when Taiwan was refused information by the WHO and naively caused a medical crisis.
This year, Taiwan ended its lock- down and by February 24, schools
Students at school with Louise (centre).
were opened with restrictions: con- stant temperature taking, all stu- dents and teachers wore masks, and physical distancing was implemented. Tamkang Middle School set rules that no student was allowed on the sports fields, and basketball was prohibited. There has been no indication of any virus in the school or in the town.
Taiwan’s National Health Depar t- ment restricted the number of masks purchased by each family, available every two weeks. No hoarding was possible, but everyone had enough. The population was compliant with the restrictions, and few businesses had to close. The mass production of masks began. By June 1, all citi- zens could purchase as many masks as they wished and could send them abroad to family members.
The Taiwan Foreign Affairs Depart- ment, with its contacts in Canada, pro-
vided an enormous donation of safety equipment to be distributed in Oxford County. At the same time, the social department of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan, through The Presbyterian Church in Canada, arranged for dona- tions of health equipment, including masks, to be sent to Evangel Hall Mis- sion in Toronto and the Anamiewigum- mig Fellowship Centre in Kenora.
Meanwhile, a friend in Canada shared news of the stress that caregiv-
ers were working under in senior fa- cilities in Owen Sound, Ont. Teachers listened and began donating masks to be taken to Canada. Others heard about this, and the school principal encouraged all who could to donate to the cause. One class donated over 100 masks. Teachers and students alike joined in the enthusiasm to help.
Tamkang students have contrib- uted almost 16,000 masks that were mailed to Owen Sound. On Sept. 2, 2020, the Mayor of Owen Sound, Mr. Ian Boddy, officially accepted this gift of masks for long-term care facilities in Grey County. I was present and spoke of the enthusiasm of the stu- dents and teachers as they joined in making this donation possible.
Along with Mayor Boddy, others attending this event included Owen Sound MPP Bill Walker, Chatsworth Deputy Mayor, Brian Gamble, and the Past-President of the Taiwanese Hu- man Rights Association of Canada, Michael Stainton.
Many facilities in the area received the masks, including Country Lane long-term care facility in my home- town of Chatsworth.
  Louise along with students at Tamkang School in Taiwan.
Presbyterians Sharing supports mission and ministry with partner churches around the world.

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