Waiting for Change

Waiting for Change

During my first trip to Kashgar I bought a bagel-like bread called girde nan from two handsome young men along a quiet lane. I photographed the bakers as I waited for their younger brother to fetch change for my purchase. On my next visit in 2004, I brought this photograph to give to them. Unfortunately, their bread stand was vacant. An American man, who lives in Kashgar and speaks fluent Uighur, offered to help me search for the bakers. First we went back to the original location of the bakery, where the landlord told us that the older brother had moved back to his hometown outside of Kashgar. She thought that the younger brother still lived in town and told us to inquire at a nearby mosque, where we began what at first seemed to be a wild goose chase: first to the mosque, then to the Kenyi Bazaar, then the post office. We showed a photo around and eventually a woman recognized him. She pointed us around a corner and down a residential lane to a bread stand crowded with several old women. There he was, tucked inside a dark little room with cool white light filtering in from high above. He was perched on the top of an earth and brick oven platform. My heart was pounding as I handed him the photos! He recognized me and the photo, and his wonderful eyes were just the same. He nodded, set the photos down beside him as he worked, and smiled.

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Stacey Irvin
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