Twelve heads bent over the table, seven of them covered by scarves. Sunlight poured over the space from a wall of windows. Six cultures were represented. On this day, they were making potholders: tracing a mitten shape onto colorful fabrics and liners, then hand-sewing the pieces together with strong, white thread.
Several conversations were always going, participants shifting between them without missing a word. One lady stacked her cut pieces on the table, saying, “I can sew at home by myself. I came here to talk.”
Some, without missing any conversation, still concentrated more on the project at hand. Hallie* finished first. Success beamed from her face as she turned her green potholder right-side-out and slid her hand inside. Plenty of voices praised her accomplishment, too.
On other weeks this summer, these women painted tiles, wove hot pads, and did other simple crafts. They come from all over the world—Japan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Afghanistan, and the U.S.—but most live in a local apartment complex now. They speak different languages, and they came to Knoxville for different reasons, but they are all learning English and—more importantly—they are finding friendship.
KIN brings people together, connecting internationals with our volunteers and with other internationals. It’s simple and surprisingly beautiful.
*Name has been changed for security purposes.
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.