【USR】Reviving Rukai Taro Roasting Kiln in Maolin Elementary School
Release Date 11 August 2022 Mandarin
The Ministry of Education’s USR project “Living in a Peach-Blossom Xanadu: A Resilient Township Transformation Project for Kaohsiung Mountain Areas (Township Transformation Project)” was conducted by NKUST Construction Engineering Department (DCE), Information Management Department (IM), Industrial Design Department (ID), and Cultural and Creative Industries Department (CCI) for years.
This year four departments cooperated with the Architecture Department of Kaohsiung Municipal Chung-Cheng Industrial High School (中正高工; CCVS) to spread the concept of Sustainable Food and Agriculture Education.
They taught students of Maolin Elementary School in Maolin District to understand the local tribe, Rukai, and the importance of Rukai’s taro roasting kiln, and learn to preserve and revive this tradition.
The “Humanitarianism Architecture - Corner Team (Corner Team; 角映義築)” was the main executive team and formed by students and teachers of the Construction Engineering Department (DCE). The team followed its SDGs mission goals to execute the Township Transformation Project by completing one task per year. So far, they have accomplished numerous tasks, covering issues such as disaster prevention, ecology, and cultural heritage.
The team invited the Architecture Department of Kaohsiung Municipal Chung-Cheng Industrial High School to take part in this year’s task. Starting this March, they assessed and discussed the plan to establish a taro roasting kiln in Maolin Elementary School. Then, they spent 11 days, from July 9 to 19, building the kiln.
Indeed, one of the main goals of the Township Transformation Project is to cultivate college students with solid academic theories and the ability to apply professional skills in practice.
Also, working with CCVS and local Rukai people can help students develop their soft powers. They learned to conceive ideas, unite different opinions with innovative ways, and solve problems faced by local communities.
Learning is not confined to the classroom. This project provides students of different schools opportunities to utilize their professional skills. Together, students’ skills, knowledge, and hearts dedicated to this USR project created a fine result for the Rukai village.
The taro roasting kiln is a very important part of Rukai culture. Rukai people used to take turns roasting taros for one night. The roasted taro is a simple homespun dish for Rukai, and it is easy to store and carry and be added to other dishes. At a time when preservative hasn't existed, Rukai's ancestors used their wisdom to preserve the food. By roasting taro in a kiln to dry it up, Rukai people can store food for a long while.
Corner Team has endeavored to help remote communities in Taitung, Tainan, and Kaohsiung. These successful tasks allow the team to gain recognition, either from the communities they helped or from the NKUST alumni, and even allow them to raise students' awareness and promote regional sustainability.
Translated/Edited by Jess Lin