Uyghur, Han, Hui, Kazak: everyone loves Naan bread. It’s crunchy and fragrant, with a chewy center. I bake it in the traditional way, as I should, in an open air wood-burning oven. My small shop is on the edge of the business district. When the naan is ready, customers from all around come flocking. At our stall, everyone is united by this one fact:
Fresh naan is irresistible!
I came to this city, the capital of our province, around ten years ago. My relatives helped me pull together the seed money to get my business off the ground, and it’s been growing steadily since then. Hargul joined me after the first year, and we moved in with two other migrant families. My fourth child, a son, was born last month.
Business has been good, and my family is growing. Hargul and I had been talking about moving to our own apartment. But the landlord of my naan shop told me last week that he has sold the whole building to developers.
They, too, know how to appreciate a good location.
My naan corner will be torn down and replaced with a high rise office block.
What can I do? My customers demand fresh, warm naan, but my oven smoke is too pungent and the prices too high for me to find a space among these glittering office buildings.
Where will I go? How will I provide for my family now?
And what will bring our different people groups together once I am gone?