The back of FBC Concord’s 18-passenger van was loaded down with framed prints, floor rugs, linens, kitchen utensils, pottery, even a small statue. On a rainy November afternoon, all the talking fogged up the windows, too, providing a great “whiteboard” for an Arabic lesson.
That’s what happens when six Arab women (and two children) join four American women for a trip to the Great Smokies Flea Market!
Her tear-filled eyes wide, Abe’s mother pulled her teacher aside after adult English class one day in late August. Her teenage son, a high school senior, was failing chemistry at school and hiding in his room at home. Could the English instructor find a tutor for him? The instructor jumped into action, reaching out to several potential tutors before she found a very bright university student with a keen grasp of chemistry. They began meeting regularly, and Abe’s grades soon rose.
He walked into the large room with no expression on his face. After a full day of kindergarten in a new classroom, in a new school, in a new country, he had nothing left to give. If anything, there was a bit of fear in his eyes. Three other children—two first graders and a second grader—entered with him.
An American lady approached him. Was she another teacher? She told him something in English, but he didn’t understand even the first word.
Clapping and cheers erupted from the middle of the gym. Another assembly line had completed another box of mac-n-cheese packs. Another table wasn’t far behind. Their assembly line of ten people completed a box—192 individual packets—with high-fives and cheers. Then they immediately started another box. The boxes were stacking up against the opposite wall, coming from ten assembly lines, and it was only 10:30am. By the end of the day, there were 45,000 meals in more than 220 boxes.
Last week, a refugee family of nine arrived in Knoxville. It’s hard to find rental property to fit nine, so they had to wait in a hotel for a few days.
Cindy Hood doesn’t want that to happen again.
Yasmin was upset. She handed her quarterly inspection report to our culture coach, wondering why she was on the verge of being evicted. It said “uncleanliness,” but she kept her house clean and tidy. Our culture coach went to her apartment and found everything else clean, but the two bathrooms covered with mold and mildew.
Mold and mildew don’t grow in the dessert. It’s too dry. But here in East Tennessee, they can grow in a couple of days--just one of the thousands of things to which many immigrants and refugees must adjust!
Some might find his driving lessons...unconventional. When Ezra* first lets a new student sit behind the wheel, he instructs them to accelerate quickly then slam on the brakes. Then he teaches them how to do “donuts” in the empty parking lot. But his methods are effective. He has already helped four internationals learn to drive.
Read the stories of Knoxville's local internationals and the volunteers who have impacted their lives. Get a first-hand view of what it's like to move here and/or to serve those who've moved here from other countries. Discover how KIN has impacted life and culture in metro Knoxville.