1st Cow Skin Factory

He is Ainiwajan, an Uyghur from Xinjiang, China. He is writing us a note in his language saying how happy he is to meet us & when we show this note to his people, we’ll be treated with warmth & friendliness just the same.
(Kazakhstan … 10.03.05 to 23.04.05)

He is the nephew of the boss & worked together with the Chinese Engineers in the town of Merke. They are running a cow skin processing factory. Ladies & gentlemen, you’re about to witness how your leather shoes, boots & handbags come about.

These drums hold about 200 pieces of cow skins each. Raw skins are washed with chemicals to first getting rid of the hairs & thickening the skin. After separation of layers & trimming, they are soaked again in other chemicals to improve their texture & stretchiness, & give a base of light blue dye.

Once the processes are completed, after almost 2 days, the sheets are labeled & properly stacked in a warehouse, ready for uploading into trucks, which will bring them on a long journey into China.

The hairless skim preparing for separation into 2 layers. The top layer is of better quality & a higher price, & hence the process is handled by the skillful Chinese.

A nicely trimmed top layer skin.

These top layers are taken with more care & soaked in different drums as the 2nd layers.

The Kazakh workers trimming & sizing the 2nd layers. See the parang they’re holding?!

Lao Zhen, as he is known to the Chinese Engineers, checking the thickness of the top layer. It is critical to maintain the performance of the layering machine. Lao Zhen has more than 20 yrs of experience & is also the 2nd man of the factory. He kept telling us to “stay here & play for a few more days.”

The room which our Chinese friends shared with us. Our comrades, thank you for the skinny experience!

Kazakhstan has been the collecting centers for cow skin from its neighbouring countries & sold to China where the main demands comes from. As such, most of the machines have came from China. Zhong Guo!

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