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The first visitor is already in the doorway

At 2 p.m., the large cutting table is still covered with a sail. "The old sails are a wonderful material," Ruth says.

But before it can be made into bags and necessaires, it must be cut apart. Recycling begins with taking the sale apart, sorting it out and putting it in a practical place. Then new products are developed and made from the individual pieces again. The sails cannot be folded like napkins. They are unruly and the cool extras that later distinguish a shopper as unique, such as metal eyelets, get in the way. "We still do this work ourselves, we don't want to outsource it," Ruth holds.

The first visitor is already in the doorway. Those who arrive before the Open Sewing Course begins help with general tasks.

Souad is given a tower of yoga pillows to weigh. Each cushion has a different weight and is written out accordingly. She writes down the numbers, checking in between to make sure she has read correctly.

Suddenly the atelier is full. Visitors and volunteers greet each other, exchange a few words, and want to start. All at the same time. Who is working on which project? Who needs what kind of help? Where is the name tag? The pattern? The lace border? Amira is a skilled seamstress. She talks about the pain in her hands, which has improved somewhat.

The surrounding women know the problem from their own experience.

They all show each other their inflamed joints and laugh about it together. Amira sits down happily at the machine. Mogai is already sewing away. Her daughter Samira helps her wordlessly with the threading. Her mother knows where to find the red thread. The two are a well-rehearsed team.

Huda picks out a new fabric with Monika.

The shelf with the beautifully sorted fabrics fills the entire wall. A feast for the eyes.

Who sorted through the many fabric donations and remnants of all kinds, selected them, and put them away? Huda is looking for something suitable for a child's dress. How old is the girl? "Four years old," Huda answers. "Then size 86," says Monika, "my granddaughter is also four years old." The sister should also get a dress, Huda says. Monika explains to her exactly how to measure the child so that she can calculate the size next time. The cutting table is still occupied, Christine helps Isma with the cutting. She shows her how to hold and guide the scissors.

"Cutting takes courage - but without cutting, no sewing," says the retired seamstress and now hands the scissors over to Isma.

Congratulations! The young mother has executed the first cut calmly and with concentration.

It's 3:00 p.m., quiet has returned to the sewing atelier. Everyone knows what to do. Christine is a little bored. Only when at least three questions are addressed to her at the same time is she in her element. Bahar also has a moment of peace. She watches the women and is lost in her own thoughts. "They were all struggling to survive, they were at war, they had to hide themselves and their children." Bahar knows what she is talking about. As an Alevi, she too has a history of flight.

"Our visitors understand that we are here for them," she adds, "when we open our hearts, their hearts open too."

Just in time for break, Amira shows off her new dress. "One o'clock," she says proudly, spinning around once. One hour, you mean, right? Amira is so proud that she overlooks the language detail and lets everyone admire her first. Meanwhile, at the kitchen table, oranges are peeled and bananas are cut into bite-sized pieces. Zobeida is in the atelier for the first time today and has brought fruit with her:

"In our country, we bring fruit with us on our first visit."

Justine thanks them and puts the gifts on the table so that everyone can enjoy them.


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