Celebrating International Day

By Susan Richardson, Kendal at Granville Resident —

To celebrate International Day this year, Kendal at Granville’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee organized “An Afternoon Around the World” event. Residents and staff members were invited to join the event by creating a table with cultural items from a country that they knew or had experienced. Tables were positioned around Kendal’s gathering room in the shape of a large U.

A dozen and a half people, both residents and staff, responded with enthusiasm and brought metal and pottery art objects, musical instruments, colorful clothing, tools, jewelry, country flags, maps and books that created lovely and diverse displays to give visitors a flavor of each country represented. Visitors arrived in a steady stream to view countries from South, Central and North America, Africa, Asia and Europe and to ask questions about the strange or curious items they found on the tables.

At my table, with items from Turkey, people were most interested in the camel leather shadow puppets that figure in the entertainment traditionally presented during the meal after sundown that breaks the fast during Ramadan, and in the blue beads attached to children’s clothing and the blue door ornaments that are hung near the entrance to your home to keep away the “evil eye.”

International foods were included also. People who did not have items to share were invited to provide a cultural appetizer or dessert. A refreshment table was set up in the middle of the U of the display tables, and it was soon overflowing with sweets—Scottish short bread, Turkish “tel kadayif,” Australian biscuits and Austrian cookies. Kendal’s kitchen staff also provided beverages—coffee and flavored water—and a cauldron of borscht.

Presenters, visitors and cooks all seemed to enjoy the interplay of asking and explaining, as well as the sampling of some delectable sweets.