I was born in Namibia and lived there for over a year before joining my mother and brother to accompany my father who was studying in Finland at the time. We ended up living in Helsinki until my completion of preschool. We then moved back to Namibia, and I lived there until when I returned to Finland for studies.
Namibia is a very hot and dry country sandwiched by two prominent deserts that mark its climatic conditions while the freezing cold Finland is quite the opposite with its abundance of lakes. Although the landscapes formed by sand dunes and snow anchors may share shapes, the environment that enables either is very far from each other. Cultures in Namibia are predominantly of collective nature while in Finland, individualism plays a great role in forming the core values of the culture. This affects family life greatly, both directly and indirectly.
The first NGO that I actually got involved with as a child was actually the girl scouts association in Namibia. I did not think of it as an NGO or as something that would leave a mark in my life, but as an adult I would like to acknowledge that it affected me greatly as it enabled me to meet like-minded people and do things that we all enjoyed together. My parents have always encouraged us to get involved in something that interests us and I have followed suit.
Working in this field in Finland was inspired by the sense of fulfilment that volunteering activities caused while I was working in my actual field of studies, that is finances. The road to shifting/transitioning was not necessarily smooth, but that is a story for another day
My favourite memory from Familia was when I was facilitating a peer support group for mothers with babies. I met a mother in that group that I least expected to have much in common with only to learn that she was the one that I had the most in common with. I appreciate that encounter because as an experience it killed something in me and gave birth to something else in me that I am happy to carry with me for the rest of my life. These kinds of experiences teach us what we do not learn in Algebra. I have learned a lot and this makes me very grateful.
I have learned that ”People are just people”. This may sound like a cliché, but really at the end of the day when we remove the bits and pieces of details that separate us from each other, we are part of one big family of humans with diverse experiences, gifts and perspectives
My involvement with Familia happened quite randomly through an email invitation to a peer support group for people in intercultural relationships. I was dating the man that eventually became my husband and Familia has made it possible for me to be actively involved in mother-baby groups, Belingual groups, camps and family vacations as these activities are related to our family situation.
In a few years, we might have our first family member join MunDuo’s target group and as a parent, I can say that I would be very happy to recommend these activities as they add value to living in an intercultural family. One feels more normal and less alone when surrounded by peers.
I describe Familia as a provider of a platform for intercultural families' voices in our society to be represented and heard nationwide.
Editor: yvette ahonen
Haluamme kertoa juhlavuotemme kunniaksi 35 tarinaa kahden kulttuurin perheistä
Julkaisemme 35 viikon ajan 35 erilaista tarinaa, jotka kuvastavat monia haasteita ja mahdollisuuksia, joita kahden kulttuurin perheet jokapäiväisessä elämässään kohtaavat. Haluamme näiden tarinoiden heijastavan todellisuutta ja tarjoavan vertaistukea, voimaannuttavia kokemuksia ja inspiraation lähteitä sekä lisäävän tietoisuutta kulttuurienvälisyydestä ja monikielisyydestä Suomessa.
For 35 weeks, we will be publishing 35 different stories that reflect the many challenges and opportunities intercultural families face in their everyday lives. We want these stories to reflect reality and serve as an accessible peer support, source of empowerment and inspiration, and increase awareness of Interculturalism and Multilingualism in Finland.