In Phase 0 I was choosing the topic that I wanted and it is part of the organizing the project details. It is a simple process that requires the person to read some of the previous projects and then chose a topic that the person liked. There is also room to change the topic if the person did not like the one that he/she chose or cannot find enough information on that certain topic.
Phase 1 is looking for background information and then listing the 10 questions that I will be using for Xizhou. Looking at the websites online trying to find the information that I needed for this project. The ten big questions are also made and recoreded in Phase 1 and also some of the online reseach before going to Yunnan, Xizhou.
Phase 2 is looking for an expert that can help me on this specific topic and sending an email to them asking for information about what is needed. Then talking to some of the teachers and the staff inside the compound and asking them for contacts and information. In Phase 2 it is mainly searching for reliable contacts to talk with and get infomation from.
I came to Xizhou for 4 weeks and that I chose local food as my topic before I arrived, then after I did I decided to change into Muslim food. I chose this topic since that it was the most interesting to me, how did this religion work and how did it change a peoples diet. In general Mr.Ma and Mr.An has been the most helpful since that they are the most serious in the religion of Muslim. I also want to answer affects of the religion it has on its people and maybe even affecting non-believers. So in order to understand the Qingzhen rules of cooking among the local Hui Muslim people in Xizhou, one must consider the rules as stated on the Qur'an, the role that Muslim food plays in the Hui culture, and the variety of dishes made by the local Hui population.
Sharing My Learning
Please see the video posted above for a summary of what I learned or click here: https://youtu.be/v4YGFrFt82Q
I took away from my inquiry experience that making connections with others are not that hard, the hardest thing is to say the first hello, to start the conversation. Talking to the people getting information looking for something that can help in the process. I find it strange that the villagers talk to complete unknown students from the outside and that they are willing to accept us into their community. That was something that I have never thought of, that the villagers cope so well with unknown people.
My topic changed, from the subject of Xizhou food in general into the subject of Muslim food. I chose Muslim food since that I want to understand the relationship of religion and their food. This is what I want to see some kind of connection between the food and the religion. I abandoned Xizhou food since I want to go deeper into a certain topic and that the topic of Xizhou food is just too general. I saw that the thing that I want to change is the way that everyone thinks about Muslim.
The most difficult part is that getting enough information about a certain topic, since that there are limited people and human resources that will talk to the person involved in the project and that there are even less people that know enough about the topic. So for me that is the most difficult part of the project. To talk to people and get enough information in from them.
My "a-ha" moments is seeing the mosque for the first time, I was surprised that there is a mosque and it feel strange to see a place of God. It was a new experience for me since that I am a non-believer of any religion. So it is different for me to see the lives of a believer closely and that there is a difference, a large difference in the culture. I saw that the Mosque is something that cannot be defiled, that only true believers can enter.
It forced me to find information in the village and not using the internet, I can get reliable information from the ones who live in the village. To see the mosque with my own eyes and to find that the people there are the real deal, real Muslims that truely believe in God.
It led me to talking to other people about the food, so that I saw what they make and what they eat. It really forced me out of the comfort zone since that in this project it is needed to talk to people. Talking to people can bring people out of their comfort zone sometimes, depending on the person.
I am good at talking at times and at other times I need to learn to shut up, I need to listen to sometimes and let others talk. I need to be more serious, and that sometimes humor is not acceptable, that only at times can help.
I saw sometimes I waste too much time, now that the inquiry project is over I think I spend too less time focused on this project. Looking back on the project I see that some more improvements are needed in this process.
I would of taken more pictures of the mosque and also spent more time on the inquiry work. I also would of asked more people for more information on the topic of Muslim food. There is also one last point I that I would of done is that, before we arrived here i would of chosen Muslim food earlier.
Someone else might focus on the method of Qingzheng and how in the Qu'an states that it cleans the body. How other people of other religion have also used this method of cooking. They also might see the point in which why the Muslims choose this type of cooking.
Mr. Ma, who gave me the most information on the rules of cooking and more rules about the religion itself. I also would like to thank Mr. T for giving me the people I can talk to and some edits that I made. Mr. An the old leader of the mosque that is the well versed in the religion.
This was a good process since I saw that the inquiry have gave me many skills that I needed, for example the time management that would come in handy later on. I feel like this is a great experience for me since I have been spending time and effort talking to people and making a project.