Story circles are an essential component of SISU is in the Heart. Prior to my arrival in Finland, I worked with Esa Honkimaki, the cultural director of Vanhu Paukku Cultural Center to arrange several story circle events in the Lapua region. One with a group of youth leaders, another with a senior group interested in genealogy, and a third circle/puppet making session with a group of teenagers interested in art and theater. I also set up a few story and song sharing events with extended family members in the home of my great-grandfather’s brother in Kauhajarvi and the surrounding areas. From the beginning, a goal of this project has been to encourage inter-generational conversation, so I wanted to make sure I talked to people of all ages on my visit to my ancestral homeland.
I had been warned (a few times) to expect a certain kind of reticence:
"Finns are quiet."
"It may be difficult to get people to talk."
"Don’t worry! I’ve got some things written down just in case no one wants to speak."
But I didn't find this to be the case at all. The sessions were fun and lively and other than a few hiccups related to misunderstandings with translation from English to Finnish, the circles were a huge success and many people told me how much they enjoyed the chance to talk to one another and to get to know their peers and relatives.
Many thanks to those who accepted the invitation and joined the circles in Finland this past week!
Check out more photos of the family events at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/419867471434183/
If YOU could include one thing in a play about Lapua or Kauha, what would it be?
Email me at SISUisintheHeart@gmail.com, or click the Share Your Stories link at the top of the page.