Promoting Regeneration of Rural Villages
Promoting Regeneration of Rural Villages
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Touching Rural Villages
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Hualien County Ruisui Township Wuhe Community
Wuhe tea
Wuhe tea
Yunlingukeng cafe
Yunlingukeng cafe

     Administratively Wuhe is located on the southern end of Hualien County’s Ruisui Township and the highest point of the East Rift Valley Highway. Geographically, it lies closest to the point where the Hongye River and the Xiuguluan River converge. It is a mesa which is one of the few areas with laterization in the east. Its name in old times was Saoba (the Amei Tribe’s word for wooden plank). It was during the period of Japanese rule that the name was changed to “Wuhe.”

     Taiwan is referred to as the kingdom of tea and Wuhe, which is an up-and-comer in this industry, relied on the “honey black tea” Gao Zhaoxu developed to participate in the World Tea Competition held by the Taiwan Tea Merchant’s Association. They took first place in the black tea category. “Honey black tea” became the legendary colorful “tea ceremony Rolls-Royce” in the Taiwanese tea world.

     At the same time, tea farmer Ye Buguang won the “Top Ten Tea Award” hosted by the Council of Agriculture. While the Wuhe tea community started last, it has been first in providing leisure and entertainment service in this field. They have inspired a diverse means of marketing which breaks the mold of tradition.

     The community has combined its collective strength in order to additionally develop products for the youth that like novelty and a boisterous atmosphere for Wuhe tea and its thirty years of history. There are more things people can do for fun in Wuhe now. Bikers with bright fluorescent clothes, family sized SUVs, and people from the city who love tea organize groups to come and experience tea tasting and making. On sunny days, visotors can go grass skiing and barbecue, or sip a cup of tea under shade in the garden. Tea farmers will put aside their work and sincerely assist visitors. They will allow them to try the tea, serve coffee, relate certain anecdotes, and discuss the history of the area. They might also discuss the skills involved in tea making or coffee roasting, or this year’s harvest and precipitation. If there is not enough to do during the day in Wuhe, you can also spend the night in one of the area’s bed and breakfasts, and experience the East Rift Valley’s beautiful nightscape.

     In recent years Yunlin’s Gukeng coffee has become very popular. This surprised the villagers of Wuhe and they realized there was a goldmine in their own backyard. Li Zhaoyi is a third generation coffee farmer and there are many hundred year old coffee trees in his farm. Gukeng’s successful experience gave Li a sudden flash of insight. He decided to no longer oppose the Soil and Water Conservation Bureau’s revitalization and training plan. He states, “going to school can learn more things.” At present they grow tea leaves and coffee on three hectares of land each. They decided to go the more refined route of making and selling coffee themselves. The coffee production and marketing squad leader Huang Mingfu is a retired assistant bank manager who became a coffee farmer. He has been at it for five years presently: “Wuhe provides great natural conditions. You only need attend to your coffee orchard in an appropriate manner and sort through the beans strictly. The beans you grow will naturally have a wonderful flavor.”

     Wuhe’s mesa is also a part of the riverbed. From the downstream of the Xiuguluan River, Ruisui, Qimei, to Dagangkou estuary, you can see five different stratigraphic sections here, including the Dewu Mesa’s Baliwan level, the Shuilian conglomerate, and Qimei Igneous Complex on the east side of the river flow. It is truly a natural geology classroom. In 1984 Wuhe was chosen as a sloping land conservation area. Through the revitalization and training course experience, every member of the Wuhe Community understands that they themselves must create the vision for their beautiful homeland; “We must be like the water of the Hongye River. We must meticulously work together without resting or ceasing in order to recreate a legendary tomorrow for Wuhe.”