Monday, November 28, 2005

A Victim of the Revolution

It was a cold day in Bishkek today. While snow has yet to arrive, the chill winter air is here and the strawberries have finally disappeared from the market.

Today I went to a photo shop that was affected by the March looting. The owners had three shops. Two of them were completely gutted. They lost $90,000 in goods and equipment.

“They even took the carpets off the floor,” one of the managers said. “All that was left was our safe and an old desk that was bolted to the ground.”

They were able to save the most valuable possession, the photo processing machine, by standing around it.

“All this happened right in front of our eyes,” the Office Manager said. “We were right there.”

I couldn’t imagine what a horrible feeling it must be to watch an out-of-control mob tear apart a business you’ve spent the last ten years building and put almost everything you had into. Luckily, many of their goods were in storage facilities, instead of in the shops themselves.

The shop looks pretty good now. I wouldn’t know it had been gutted seven months ago if they hadn’t told me. However, they were closed for over a month as they rebuilt. And they said now, even seven months later, they have far less goods than they had before.

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