Phase 3: Interpreting Information

Updated 1 year 3 weeks ago
On this page, I will be discussing the things that I have learned about my topic both before and after the trip. I will also be building upon the things that I have done in Phases 0, 1, and 2. The things that I have done in Phases 0, 1, and 2 were choosing my project topic, creating real/big questions, and finding helpful resources to expand my knowledge on the subject.
Background Information:
I have done some background research on how businesses work, and how plants work. I learned that companies should sell something unique to attract the attention of customers, and from that, make a reasonable profit. But I did not focus my Inquiry Project on businesses only; I also looked at plants which I could sell. However, I did not look at plants in general; I researched a little bit about cacti. Although I do not know what types of cacti are growing on the foothill west of the village, I have found some benefits that a particular genus of the Cactaceae group provides for people: Opuntia, or the more common term, "Prickly Pear." This genus of cacti has juices have a tremendous nutritional value that benefits people. Firstly, some evidence shows that Opuntia can reduce blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes, and can also reduce the effects of a hangover [1,2].
Small Businesses
In my efforts for learning a bit more about small businesses, I stumbled across a website that talked about six key ways to start a successful business, be it small or large. When it comes to the gist of it, being successful requires many factors, but the two that mean the most to me are holding your head high and starting small. These two factors would significantly increase your chances of becoming successful, and that is because more often than not, people who are starting a business shrink back in fear, and for reasons that mostly revolve around cowardice. If potential founders just held their head high and stepped forward, they could become founders of huge companies. Some examples include Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg; you never know unless you try[5]. The second most important part to me is how you should start small. No matter how confident you are, always start your business small, and build up. That way, you will be playing it safe. These two factors will be the main things that I will be using to guide myself throughout this project. 
After doing a bit of reading on previous small business case study reflections, I have found some things that I should be aware of when doing this topic. For example, after reading the reflection written by alumnus Peyton F., and a big takeaway that I got was to try and build relationships at the village. He stated, "It helped me become more comfortable and more confident when speaking and asking questions, even if someone else was translating for me." I decided to read another Inquiry Project that was written by alumnus Alex L. He explained that many of the people in the village of Xizhou are very friendly, and willing to become a part of the project. I think the main things that I got from reading the reflections written by these former Microcampus students are to try and build relationships with the villagers and to seek a better understanding of your topic before departing to Xizhou.
Plant Life
For the plant life portion of my project, I was unable to find any information from former Microcampus students that discussed the cacti living near the village. According to Mr. T, the cacti near the village are plants that no one has studied yet, and that is why I chose to study them. However, I did find information about certain cactus species on other sites. For example, I did some research on a type of plant named Prickly Pear, which is a member of the genus Opuntia. This cactus supposedly has juices inside that can provide nourishment for humans. The food is used to help treat diseases such as diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol, and much more [2], as I have stated above. I have also done a little bit of research on a cactus named Aloe Vera, from the genus Aloe. This plant harvested for medicinal uses[6]. However, there are some cacti out there that could be potentially harmful. For example, there is a succulent in the genus Euphorbias that is particularly dangerous to humans. When in contact, the white sap in their leaves can cause irritation to skin, and usually be the primary source for a rash[7].
Tips to Look Out for in General
After reading a bit of what a former Microcampus student Gayatri B. wrote, I learned that I should try to learn slightly more Chinese to build a closer relationship with the people there and that sometimes, it is difficult for businesses to open up to you [3]. Another thing was from alumni James L., and that was to be sure to take photos when working[4]. He says that you must take as many photos as possible because if you do not have the pictures, you might have to spend time later in the project to do it. Now I know a few things that I should be mindful of to have a successful Inquiry Project.
Information From 3-to-5's:
During my 3-5's, I was given a good handful of people who I could contact for information, but I was also given some information on the topic. The information that I got will be going in this section, and they include facts about how the Camellias are the state plant of Xizhou. I was also given a brief history about the commonality of Orchids, and how often they were planted, and then sold for significant amounts of money. Another piece of information that I got was more of a suggestion, and that was to ask Mr. He of is childhood. When Mr. He was a child, he had to walk and hike for hours to up the mountains to collect firewood for his family, and this was when he was around 14 years of age. 
  • Camellias are the state plant of Xizhou
  • Orchids used to be very expensive and common, now not as much
  • Information from Local Contacts:
In this portion, I will not only be writing the information that I got from local contacts here, but I will also be tying the different answers I got together and also tying them back to my questions. However, since I manipulated my topic a bit after I arrived in Xizhou, I will not be tying my information with the 10 questions I posed in Phase 1. I will be tying them with questions and concerns that I had during my interview.
Information From Local Contacts

Ms. Yan - Wednesday, May 3, 2017[8]

Ms. Yan is the lady who takes care of all the plants in Linden Center. Since she is the first person who I interviewed, I cannot tie the information that she gave me to the answers others have. However, I did learn a bit about different flowers and cacti. 
  • Camellias typically have no uses. However, she has heard some rumors that if you put the flower in your water and drink, it can help prevent/protect against nose bleeds 
  • Orchids used to be planted and sold for very high prices 100-1000 RMB, but now they are much cheaper
  • Orchids do not have any traits/characteristics that benefit people. However, it has an intoxicating fragrance
  • She used to grow plants herself as a farmer, and she grew rice and brown beans. A portion was sold, and the other kept.
  • There are some cacti where the fruits are good for women, but that is another legend

Ms. & Mr. Yang - Thursday, May 4, 2017[9, 10]

Ms. Yang is the daughter of Mr. Yang, and they are the owners of the guest house that is about 50 meters down Linden Center. They supplied me with lots of information, and I can tie this information back to what Ms.Yan told me. The main one is how the Orchids do not have any uses, rather smell nice. 
  • Do not breathe in the fumes from the Huang du juan (yellow rhododendron), because they are poisonous.
  • Mr. Yang takes care of their garden
  • They grow Devilwood and Camellias; however, they already bloomed
  • The red soil is filled with iron, and it is better than black and brown soil at raising the plants
  • They use used tea leaves as fertilizer 
  • She does not want to control her child's life, Ms. Yang hopes that her daughter will pursue her dream.
  • The plants that they grow are all local, not imported from elsewhere 
  • Ms. Yang says that her child is her "inspiration" for why her job is in the hotel business.
  • Her family created the guest house without the expectation of earning lots of money; she just wanted to have it so that she could work and take care of her child.

Mr. Hai[11]

Mr. Hai is a plant dealer who usually sets up right in front of Sifangjie. Some of the answers that he supplied me are about my questions. The glaring one being how he does not want his children to continue his job.
  • Even though red soil is useful, Mr. Hai uses rocks and black soil to nurture his plants
  • He sells plants because he wants to provide them to people who need it.
  • He is a farmer that grows corn and 
  • 60% of the time, he is the only one
  • He treks up mountains to get the plants, and he does it alone
  • He sells different species of orchids (Dendrobium is an example, it grows to about 10 meters), ferns, and rice
  • He does not hope his children continue the job that he has now
  • The job he has was for him to be able to sustain his family, he also has another job
  • He hikes up the mountain once every week to get plants
  • Mr. Hai has been working like this for less than a year.

Mr. Wang[12]

Mr. Wang is one of the many Xizhoubaba sellers that work at Sifangjie. He is the first person I interviewed that was not related to plants; instead, about business. During my interview, I was curious to see if the vendors remembered their dreams from their adolescence. Unfortunately, they did not; however, I had another curiosity which was, did the vendors have any ways of advertising their products, and surely, Mr. Wang did.  
  • His family has been selling baba since 1806, one of the longest Xizhoubaba sellers
  • Mr. Wang does not have any special strategies for attracting customers; he says the competition is too great
  • He sits back and waits till the customers come to him
  • He has some ads on the internet
  • Works as a baba seller because he says that he can not do anything else.
  • He does not remember the goals that he had when he was younger
  • He hopes that his child will not pursue/continue the same job as him.


Mr. Wang[13]

Mr. Wang is one of the people who sell plants at a market called Sha Ping Market, and one of his answers surprised me a tiny bit. That answer was to the question "do you have any way of advertising your products?" He said that he would just sit there and wait. 
  • He hikes up on the mountains to get the plants (uses black soil)
  • He is a farmer
  • Sells his products from 7 am - 2 pm
  • This is a job that he does for life
  • He says that he would change his job if he could, but he can not. The reasoning behind this is because he is dedicated to being a farmer
  • His son already works with him selling these plants
  • Mr. Wang does not have any particular strategy for attracting customers; however, he sets up right in front of the market. This way, he is the first vendor that the customers see
  • He does not know any plants that can be of use to the human body (health wise).

Ms. Guang [14]

Ms. Guang is a lady who grows houseplants and plant decor as a living. She lives near Sha Ping Market. She is someone who supplied me with a plethora of information. I learned about different flowers, trees, and other plants. However, the information that gave me was not very closely related to the information that I got before. There is, however, one piece that is incredibly important, and that is about her children. Ms. Guang does not want her children to be in the same occupation as her. 
  • Ms. Guang grows her plants
  • She sells half of them and keeps half of her plants (sold at Sha Ping Market)
  • Du Juan Hua is a plant grown just for decor
  • She has a wide variety of plants (Tangerine Trees, Peach Trees, Camellias, Cactus, 
  • There is a plant called gan lang shu, and you can eat it raw. It is supposed to help you when you are sick or have a cold. The fruit is green
  • She hopes her children will focus on study and not pursue the same job as her
  • The customers that she has are anyone; there is no specific person
  • She only plants things that can help people
  • She was the first in the area.

Ms. Yang[15] 

Ms. Yang is a lady who runs a small shop, and that sells various items. She works at the Morning Market. Unfortunately, I did not get very much information from her. The most important piece of information here that is useful is how she has no strategy. As I interviewed different people, I began to notice that more often than not, the vendors do not have any strategy for attracting customers. 
  • She grows her peppers
  • She gets the seeds from Xia Guan
  • They started and ran the store as a family
  • Their shop follows the strategy that most of the other ones that I have interviewed, which is to wait for customers simply.
  • Her child already works with her


Mr. and Ms. Yang[16, 17]

Mr. and Ms. Ya are elders who sell a herb on the intersection of the Morning Market and Walking Street. The information that I got here was quite useful. These are the people who gave me the most information regarding herbs. The main one being Gastrodia. Another thing is, again, the strategy that they have. They as well do not have any strategies for attracting customers.
  • They hike up the mountain for their herbs
  • You can eat it raw (eat the roots)
  • The herbs are supposed to be used as an anti-inflammatory substance
  • This is the only thing they sell, and they have no strategy of selling it (just waiting for customers). 
  • You must dry this herb before eating
  • You can also put the herb in tea and drink it. 
  • They do not follow any schedule when it comes to selling these materials
  • They are farmers
  • Any dirt can be used for these plants
  • They said that there are other plants such as 天麻(Gastrodia); however, he does not know what they can do

Mr. Zhao[18]

Mr. Zhao is the current owner of a herb store near the end of the Walking Street. He has been working for 20 years. Unfortunately, I do not have a photo of me interacting with him; however, despite not having a photo of me interacting with him, I got the most information about herbs from him than I did from anyone else. He also mentioned how the Gastrodia could benefit the health of a human, and he told me how it benefits people. Again, he, like many others, do not have any particular strategy when it comes to attracting customers. He just sits on his chair and waits. 
  • Some of the herbs that he owns are from the mountain
  • They own a plethora of different herbs and fruits
  • They do the same thing as previously interviewed businesses and waits for customers
  • There is a herb called shen qi that can help with your blood circulation (but you must ground it to dust to use both raw or not)
  • He works from 8:00 to 18:00
  • He also mentioned the 天麻(Gastrodia) and how it can help: controlling seizures, reducing migraines. 
  • He worked for 20 years
  • He sells a herb that he named 血塞通. It is a herb that is supposed to help with the heart and brain's blood vessels. 
  • All of the herbs from him should either be ground to dust or put in tea to drink
  • Locals usually know how to use the herbs
  • Mr. Zhao explained to me what nine of his many herbs do. Below are the names and what they do
1. 山楂 (shan zha) - Hawthorn is the English name of this particular herb, and this herb is supposed to help ease digestion. Too much of it, however, may cause severely low blood pressure.
2. 野生黄芩 (ye sheng huang qin) - The English name for this herb is Wild Scutellaria. This plant is typically used by the Chinese to "clear away the heat-evil and expel superficial evils." It is used to help treat Hepatitis, Diarrhea, and inflammation. It was also used in Native American medicine, typically for gynaecological reasons.
3. 罗汉果花 (luo han ke hua) - This herb is known as Siraitia Grosvenorii in English, and it has a wide variety of uses. When being used as a medicine, this herb/fruit is supposed to help you deal with coughs and sore throats
4. 槐米 (huai mi) - Huai Mi, otherwise known as Styphnolobium Japonicum in English is a herb used as an anti-inflammatory and or antispasmodic treater.
5. 赤芍 (chi shao) - This herb is known as the Red Peony in English, and it is a bitter herb that is supposed to help remove pathogenic heat from blood, discharging fresh blood on the stool, and deal with sore red swollen eyes.
6. 甘草 (gan cao) - This herb is also commonly known as candy, and it is called Licorice. However, with this herb, it is mainly the roots that provide the most use. The roots may be effective in treating hyperlipidemia (high amounts of fat in the blood stream).
7. 三七花 (san qi hua) - The English name of this plant is Panak Notoginseng. It is a herbal medicine used as an anti-inflammatory, and adaptogen. 
8. 巴戟天 (ba ji tian) - This herb is called Morinda officinalis, and it is a herb used to help your kidney.
9. 天麻 (tian ma) - Tian Ma, also known as Gastrodia in English is a herb that is most commonly used to help deal headaches and high blood pressure. However, it can also be used to help sooth seizures.

Mr. Yang[19]

Mr. Yang is a tea leaves seller, who sells his products on the Walking Street. He claims that his tea is beneficial to the human body by fighting off sickness. He also waits for his customers as others do, and he grows his plants himself like many others do as well. 
  • Grows the leaves himself
  • He sells cooked tea (which is fermented) and raw tea leaves.
  • He works from around 7:30 am - 12:30 pm
  • He does the same thing as the previously interviewed store vendors, which is to wait for customers
  • His tea can help be an anti-inflammatory and also help soothe thirst
  • He has been working for 20 years and had returning customers since then
  • Because he has reoccurring customers, his tea is mostly if not all good quality.
  • His children do not work with him, and he is proud about that. 
  • Some of the tea that he sells are 苦荞 (ku qiao, aka Bitter Buckwheat), and 毛峰绿茶  (mao feng lü cha, aka Mao Feng Green Tea)
  • He says that his tea and 天麻 (Gastrodia) are both plants that are beneficial to the health and wellbeing of humans. 


Ms. Gao[20]

Ms. Gao is the owner of a small restaurant called 雲格小吃(yun ge xiao chi). This restaurant is right next to Old Town Snacks. Ms. Gao is the wife of the restaurant owner, and she does not have any strategy for attracting customers, and she does not understand other topics. Because she does not understand other topics and only understand the food industry, she decided to join the culinary arts. 
  • They open from 8:30 am - 8:00 pm
  • They opened their store in October of 2014
  • 雲格小吃 is a family run restaurant
  • Her family does not have an excellent understanding of how other businesses work, and that is why they chose to run a small restaurant.
  • They do not have a strategy to attract customers (e.g. advertisements).
  • The restaurant does have its specialty called 小米辣牛肉炒饭(xiao mi la niu rou chao fan).
  • She has a daughter, but Ms. Gao hopes that she will not follow the same jobs as herself.
  • Her family earns about 1-2k RMB each week.

Ms. Zhao [21]

Ms. Zhao is the current owner of a restaurant known in English as Old Town Snacks. This restaurant is a long time friend of the SAS Microcampus groups. Ms. Zhao thinks the same way as other store owners do, and that is she does not have any particular strategy for attracting customers, she does not want her children to have the same job as her, and she does not understand other topics when it comes to jobs. 
  • They opened up in 2014
  • Based off of the number of tourists, the amount of money that they earn each day can range from around three or four thousand RMB to one or two hundred RMB.
  • They do not have a strategy for attracting customers
  • Ms. Zhao's husband as been into the culinary arts since he was roughly ten years old.
  • Ms. Zhao and her husband decided to open a restaurant because both of them were in the restaurant business: Ms. Zhao a waiter, and her husband a chef.
  • They do not understand how other businesses function
  • Ms. Zhao hopes her child will not do the same job as her, and she wants him to earn money with his brain instead of physical work
  • When Ms. Zhao was a child, she wanted to be a soldier or a police officer.
  • The reason why she does not have any strategies is that tourists come to Xizhou or Dali to have the specialties, and everyone can create the specialties here.


Mr. Yan [22]

Mr. Yan is one of the Xizhoubaba sellers in Xizhou. He is also a friend of the SAS Microcampus students. He is someone who supplied me with answers similar to other shopkeepers. He says that he does not have any strategies for attracting customers, and he sincerely hopes that his daughters will not sell baba like he does. Another thing that is similar to some store owners is that his job is a family job that he has been helping since he was ten years old. 
  • He recommends the warmer Xizhoubaba, but his preferred taste for the baba is the salty one
  • He started running the business in the early 2000's, but their Xizhoubaba stand has been running for a long time (the time is unknown)
  • The baba stand is a family run stand, and Mr. Yan has been working for about 30 years (since he was around ten years old)
  • This is the only job that he knows how to do, which is why he does not work for other jobs
  • He hopes his children will not have the same job as him, and his wish has come true. His oldest daughter is in college, and his second daughter still has not fulfilled his wish because she is in eighth grade.
  • It takes about six minutes to cook a single set of baba, and each day, he sells from 50-60 of them
  • He works for about 11 hours, starting at around 8:00 in the morning
  • He also does not have a strategy for attracting customers
  • He used to run a small restaurant behind his stand, but then he and his wife lost interest in it and deserted the restaurant.


Mr. Zao[23]

Mr. Zao is a bracelet vendor near Sifangjie. Unfortunately, I did not get very much information from him. However, he did tell me things that many other vendors also do. One is he does not have any strategy when it comes to attracting customers. He just sits in his chair and waits for customers.
  • He has no strategy to attracting customers
  • He started his business in 2014
  • The bracelets are handmade by him, and they are supposed to help 去风
  • It takes him about three to five minutes to make a bracelet with no silver on it, and about one minute for a bracelet with silver on it
  • He uses a lighter to help him create the bracelets.


Ms. Sun[24] 

Ms. Sun is an elder lady who works for a family business known as 阿达暇(a da xia), and she is currently 64 years old. She thinks about her children similarly to other store owners when in regards to selling things. She says that she does not care if her children do the same job as her. Instead, she believes that it is their choice. Another thing is, her brand is quite a big brand. They have advertisements and can use things like Wechat/Alipay to pay things. 
  • The competition for selling the products related to hers is relatively high
  • Her brand advertises on the internet, and they accept Wechat/Alipay. 
  • At her age, she says that it is tough to earn money.
  • The business has been running since 2012. 
  • They sell brown sugar, black sugar, and honey
  • They also sell local wine (rose wine, papaya wine).
  • Their brand of this product is all over the place
  • She works from about 8:30 am - 6~7 pm
  • She does not care if her children sell the products with her. She says that it is their choices.


Mr. Zhang[25]

Mr. Zhang is one of the Xizhoubaba sellers in Sifangjie. He is one of the people who gave me an answer that was very unexpected. When I asked him if he wanted his future to children to work his same job, he said yes. His reply is something that I did not expect, and that is because most of the shopkeepers say that this life is tough, and they do not want to put their children through the same process. 
  • He sells ten RMB per baba
  • His Xizhoubaba stand was and still is a family run stand (he has been working for it since he was 18 years old).
  • He is capable of doing other things, but he wants to sell baba to honor and carry on his family's tradition
  • Mr. Zhang does not have any particular strategy to lure customers (similar to other shops/restaurants)
  • He recommends the salty baba
  • He sells around 100-200 baba each day, and their business has been running since 1928
  • Something different about Mr. Zhang is that he hopes that when he has children, they will also sell baba (however, he is not married yet). This is because he wants to pass the family tradition on to his future young. 


Mr. Zhong [26]

Mr. Zhong is the owner and worker at a restaurant in Sifangjie called 春春小吃(chun chun xiao chi). This restaurant is one of the many small restaurants at Sifangjie that provide food for tourists. The answers that I got from Mr. Zhong are quite close to how other restaurant and store owners thought too. However, one of his answers are different, and it is similar to how Mr. Zhang thought. Both of them want their children to work with them and continue the family tradition of selling food to people. 
  • He utilizes the good nature of his co-workers as well as signs to try and attract customers; however, he does not have any advertisements
  • His family tradition is to work after marriage, and he married in 1989. 
  • 春春小吃 opened in 2016
  • The reason for why he opened this restaurant is because he knows that tourists come to Xizhou to try the food, and he also enjoys making food for people
  • His goals in life are to make lots of money and live a good/healthy life.
  • He earns about 5-6 hundred RMB per day, and 7-8 hundred if there are lots of people
  • He opens at around 7 AM and closes at around 9 PM
  • He also uses his restaurant's specialties to attract customers (砂锅米线 is one of his specialties)


Ms. Yang [27]

Ms. Yang is a woman who mastered the craft of embroidery. She is a purveyor of embroidery, and her mother is there to help in case Ms. Yang is not available. I interviewed both of them, and they gave me answers similar to that of previously interviewed vendors. Firstly, Ms. Yang does not care if her child pursues the same craft as herself, and that is the same as many other shopkeepers. Another thing is that she does not have any special tactics for attracting customers, similar to other shopkeepers as well.
  • Has an admiration for embroidery, and that is why they opened the store
  • Ms. Yang's mother helps her sell when she is not available
  • They sell handcrafted bags and synthetic dye
  • They do not recommend things to their customers; they instead let the customers choose
  • Ms. Yang's store opens at around 9 AM and closes at around 7 PM
  • All the things in their store are handcrafted
  • Some bags take three days while others take at least two days to finish
  • This is a lifelong job, and she has been doing embroidery since she was nine years old. 
  • Their store opened in 2016


Ms. Song[28]

Ms. Song is the owner of a recently opening store. Her store is on the walking street to Sifangjie, and she supplied me answers similar to that of other store owners. The main one being she does not care if her child does the same job as her. She also thinks that it is up to the child what they want to do, similar to how Ms. Yang thought. 
  • The small plants are her own
  • She opened her store on May 2, 2017, and because of that she says she does not earn much money
  • She opened a store like this because when she traveled to places, she would always bring things to sell
  • When she was younger in her adolescence, she wanted to be a teacher.
  • Now, her interest is selling these small products
  • The products are all relatively bright
  • She opens at around 9 AM and closes at around 10 PM
  • She uses signs, and the flower stands out at the front to attract customers. This is because stores do not usually have flowers out, and because of that, it is different and sparks the curiosity in customers
  • She sells small decor and souvenirs
  • She never thought about doing other jobs



Answers to Previous Questions:
Business Questions
1) How do plant companies begin?
Possible answers: Plant businesses probably start because they are appealing to folks who enjoy gardening or something along those lines.
Most Common Answer: Companies usually begin because the locals do not understand how to do other topics, they enjoy the business that they chose, and or it is a family tradition.
2) How do the people who live in the village create a business?
Possible answer: They probably go through a similar process that every business in the world goes through
Most Common Answer: Again, the answer to this question is the same as the first: the locals either do not understand other topics, enjoy their business topic, and or it is a family tradition.
3) Are there any companies that already sell plants, and if so, what type of plants?
Possible answer: Yes, there are probably businesses that already sell plants, and they are probably selling plants that act as cosmetics.
Most Common Answer: Multiple companies sell plants, and those plants are either small plants for decor, medicinal plants, or large plants for the smell.
4) If there are smaller businesses and large businesses, how do they manage to keep the attention of their buyers?
Possible answer: They must have in their possession either something exotic or something that provides a benefit to their consumers.
Most Common Answer: Many of the small business owners that I interviewed said that they did not have any strategies to attract the attention of their buyers. They said that they just sit there and wait for them, and if anyone needs to buy something that they have, the buyers will just come to them. 
5) What inspired them to work in the business world?
Possible answer: There is a multitude of factors that could cause someone to want to work in the businesses world. One factor could be family heritage. As parents have children, those children are probably taught to continue the parent job which is in the business community. Another factor could be other people in the world who are role models to them. 
Most Common Answer: The majority of the owners stated that they worked in the business world because they enjoyed selling their products and because they needed some way to provide for their families.
6) Would they want their children to live the parent's kind of lifestyle, and if so, why?
Possible answer: They would probably want their kids to continue living their lifestyle, and that is because many parents tend to force their children to do what the parent's think is right. There are many occasions when parents want their children to do this for their living when their child may want to do the complete opposite.
Most Common Answer: Most of the owners said that they did not want their children to continue their lifestyle, and this is because most parents claim that their jobs are incredibly difficult and require only physical ability. One of the store owners that I interviewed, Ms. Zhao, said that she wanted her child to earn money using his brain and not his hands. However, some small business owners said either they wanted their children to continue their job or wished their children would work with them. 
Plant Questions: For my plant questions, I decided to change them to other issues. The reason for why I changed them is because I decided to change my topics from focusing only on cacti to plants in general. However, just because I did not ask these questions does not mean that I did not use them. These four plant questions were used to help me think of different questions to ask the locals. So even though I did not physically ask these questions nor get answers for them, I still used them to think up new questions about my topic.
7) How do botanists classify different genus of cacti?
Evolved into: What types of soil do you use to care for your plants?
Most Common Answer: The locals in Xizhou who owned plants said that they usually use red soil. Red soil is usually filled with iron, which they claim is supposed to help nourish their plants. However, some locals use brown soil and black soil.
8)How do the cacti survive in such high altitudes?
Evolved into: What types of plants are there that can benefit the health and wellbeing of humans?
Most Common Answer: The answer that showed up most often was tian ma (aka Gastrodia). This plant is supposed to help you deal with seizures, ease migraines/headaches, and lower blood pressure. 
9) Do people in Yunnan harvest cacti, and if so, why?
Evolved into: Do you care for your plants?
Most Common Answer: The answers that I got from the people I interviewed was about 50/50. Some people said that they grew it themselves, while others say that they hiked up onto a mountain to get them.
10) How can the cacti at Yunnan benefit people?
Evolved into: What is your most commonly sold plant/herb?
Most Common Answer: People typically come in for Gastrodia
After doing all of my field research, I am ready to move on to Phase 4 of my Inquiry Project. I know that I am ready to move onto Phase 4 because I have a few thesis statements that I will be using to create my final product. Not only do I have my thesis statements, but I have also had my "Hangers and Hooks" conversation with Mr. T. The point of the "Hangers and Hooks" conversation is for me to group all of the information that I got from my field research into specific categories. I also know who my audience is and I will be looking at the final product of other Microcampus alumni. 


1. “Opuntia.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 12 May 2017, Accessed 16 May 2017.

2. L.D., Katherine Zeratsky R.D. “Does prickly pear cactus have health benefits?” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 16 Oct. 2015, Accessed 16 May 2017.

3. “Shanghai American School.” Shanghai American School | MICROCAMPUS, Accessed 16 May 2017.

4. “Shanghai American School.” Shanghai American School | MICROCAMPUS, Accessed 16 May 2017.

5. Mamas, Michael. “6 Keys to Develop a Successful Small Business.” Entrepreneur, 28 Jan. 2016, Accessed 16 May 2017.

6. “Aloe vera.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 14 May 2017, Accessed 16 May 2017.

7. “Are succulents poisonous?” Succulents and Sunshine, 26 Apr. 2017, Accessed 16 May 2017.

8. Ms. Yan. Personal interview conducted by Jason Ma, 3 May 2017
9. Ms. Yang. Personal interview conducted by Jason Ma, 4 May 2017
10. Mr. Yang. Personal interview conducted by Jason Ma, 4 May 2017
11. Mr. Hai. Personal interview conducted by Jason Ma, 5 May 2017
12. Mr. Wang. Personal interview conducted by Jason Ma, 5 May 2017
13. Mr. Wang. Personal interview conducted by Jason Ma, 8 May 2017
14. Ms. Guang. Personal interview conducted by Jason Ma, 8 May 2017
15. Ms. Yang. Personal interview conducted by Jason Ma, 9 May 2017
16. Mr. Yang. Personal interview conducted by Jason Ma, 9 May 2017
17. Ms. Yang. Personal interview conducted by Jason Ma, 9 May 201
18. Mr. Zhao. Personal interview conducted by Jason Ma, 9 May 2017
19. Mr. Yang. Personal interview conducted by Jason Ma, 9 May 2017
20. Ms. Gao. Personal interview conducted by Jason Ma, 10 May 2017
21. Ms. Zhao. Personal interview conducted by Jason Ma, 10 May 2017
22. Mr. Yan. Personal interview conducted by Jason Ma, 10 May 2017
23. Mr. Zao. Personal interview conducted by Jason Ma, 11 May 2017
24. Ms. Sun. Personal interview conducted by Jason Ma, 11 May 2017
25. Mr. Zhang. Personal interview conducted by Jason Ma, 11 May 2017
26. Mr. Zhong. Personal interview conducted by Jason Ma, 15 May 2017
27. Ms. Yang. Personal interview conducted by Jason Ma, 15 May 2017
28. Ms. Song. Personal interview conducted by Jason Ma, 15 May 2017


My name is Jason M. and I am from Carmel, Indiana. I am currently attending SAS Pudong and I am almost at the end of eighth grade. The experience that I got from the journey to Xizohu was probably one of the best that I have had. I am really proud that I attended Microcampus, and that is because I learned a lot of not only myself but Xizhou as well. The trip to Xizhou yielded several different small experiences that added up to one huge journey. Hopefully, I can pay another visit to Xizhou sometime.