This is the speech I gave in my childhoods community’s 25th anniversary: Tuulenkylä, “Village of the Wind” (What a fancy way to start blogging!)
” I know most of you know me, though we haven’t met in a while. It’s good to see you again. I’ve grown up here – there’s my home *pointing out to apartment 25*
I was almost five years old when my family moved here. It is said that children learn best by observing and imitating – and in my case that has certainly been true. I’ve earned my living for instance by waitressing, which I have learned right here, in this same kind of parties we’ve had here at our common house many times a year.
And now when I’m almost 30 years old, I’ve found myself becoming a professional in community building. You see, this life what you live here, is what many people in the world want to learn in these times. Some even say all the problems of the world can be solved in the level of a village.
It is not hard to believe, I think. But how to do that? That’s quite a question, and it has been quite an adventure for me to become aware of what makes this community a community.
When I describe the community of Tuulenkylä, I usually need to start quite far: No, we don’t have religious leader. Not even a strong ideological backround. And I can’t really tell if my parents were more hippie than others.
But when I get to clarify that Tuulenkylä is actually quite a normal bunch of terraced houses, which have been built in a form of a circle (so that on darkening evenings you can see the light in neighbors windows), and that we have a common house (where we quite many years used to eat together every Saturday, because it was practical and fun), and that there is a sauna in the middle of the circle (and we take care of it in turns).
People quite often say: that is Genious! Then I go deeper by telling two little stories of my own life:
The first one (this is the one my mother always keeps telling) is from the days in the very beginning, 25 years ago, when the construction was finished and all the families moved in. Here is 28 apartments, and at that time at least 40 children. While the adults focused on building homes, decorating, we children were sort of left on our own – found the treasure of the circle-formed yard, and started to get really wild.
Quite soon the adults realized what was going on, and they came together to make a decision: everybody can command everybody’s children. That – I think – is quite extraordinary, given that normally that is the thing causing many argues in normal neighborhoods. But that was a decision that applied to everybody’s life in Tuulenkylä, and the adults made it together.
The other story is about the sauna, of course (regards to Silveri who every year gives a speech of the sauna – so will I now): I just love the fact that still, as a 29 years old woman, I can run across the yard in the winter, barefoot, testing my braveness, to the sauna on Saturday – and little bit out of breath, with red sore feet, laugh together with other adult women who have known me all my life. These women have helped me so much by sharing their own life story with me, being there every Saturday, in the sauna – sometimes talking a lot, sometimes just silently sharing the sacred space.
These stories include the four dimensions, that point out from my research of the secret of the community. In this case they are:
- being empowered to make decisions together
- sharing physical work, taking care of the common property
- having a common space to eat and celebrate together
- being silent together, the sacredness, the rhythm of life
Tuulenkylä has been and is our own yard, own life own culture – own piece of the world.
From that point of view – solving the problems of the world – does not look so difficult.
You mean a lot to me, everyone. Thank you. ”
28th August 2010 Tuulenkylä, Jyväskylä, Finland