What about the philosophy of life then? The many years (Anna-Liisa 13 and Heikki 15 years) in Africa have drastically changed our attitude towards many questions in Finland and have strengthened understanding of the saying “small is beautiful”. There are many ways of classifying us human beings and one is the following including three different levels as follows:

  • to have, i.e. important is what material you possess
  • to love, i.e. taking good care of your family and enlarging it to contain the so called extended family
  • to be, i.e. making the question “what is my task in this life?”

My choice is the last mentioned level. I am very thankful for so many things in my life – for good or for not so easy ones – and that is why I would like to give something back. The main good thing in my life has been the possibility to get education which was not so easy and common in the 1940s for a girl coming from a workers´class family. Thanks go to my mother who insisted me going to secondary and thereafter I had more ways to get myself a profession – and of course new thoughts and ideas for the life. My mother sold her “coffee coupons” (regulation of food and clothes) so that I could pay my school fees – the secondary that time in Finland was not paid by the tax money.
In my difficult childhood I had “found” a theory about an extra angel nearby my bed when I was born and the presence of this angel has given a new direction to many different happenings during my life. This thought is still in my mind and it is motivating me still to be active and look for new goals – mainly to help others.

In Hämeenlinna in the 1990´s – after being back for good from Africa – I was asked to join the activities of the Green League and I was one of the nominees for city council of Hämeenlinna with a result of round 100 votes! It meant that I was not elected but I assume that one part of my possible votes went for Martines Lopez from West-Africa and he was elected. It meant that in the Hämeenlinna city council there was one strong intercessor for questions related to the foreigners and immigrants from abroad. Today I am only reading the Magazine of the Finnish Greens.

African carvings.


Do I have any hobbies? Besides little reading and my volontary work? Working on the compound, establishing a kitchen garden and trying to put all my old papers in to the respective folders. Why this? Maybe in one day I could start writing my life, all its turns into my memoir? On the condition of course, that I still have some years ahead!


During my school time I was not an easy going student and especially in my late Primary years and even in Secondary I was among those who were doing a lot of mischief which the youngsters that time had to organize in order to get some excitement to the days – that time we did not have any money for any extra programmes – it was a must to use your own imagination and be inventive. My childhood surrounding was the junction of Haapamäki railway station and it gave us boys many possibilities to use our imagination a lot. We as scouts had wilderness travellers´ knowledge which made us able to search for interesting – sometimes even nearly impossible looking – matters on the railway station area. We e.g. found strings of Russian parachutes which were moulded for strings of Jojo-wheels, those toys all children in 1940´s in Finland knew well. Women in the village were very happy to have silk material for their blouses - that material also came from parachutes. We even tried to get the wing machine gun of a Jak-fighter to work but we failed ! Maybe our knowledge of the machines was not enough or we did not have any idea of the importance of electronic devices while discharging the gun! We were also able to earn a little bit cash – having cash that time was something special for a child! – by selling those lead seals, “blomms” – in the junction they were used for locking the railway wagons but our customers, hunters, needed them as raw material for shots in their rifles. Being enterprising as well as aiming to the future became a habit for us boys. We also learned how to seal our lips – we did not tattle about our matters!

I am of the opinion that this habit of carrying things upon my own initiative helped me later in the life – aot I assembled a couple of motor bikes of different separate parts and after selling those bikes I was able to buy a real vehicle for my own use. On the other hand it was clear that these my hobbies had an impact on my studies – the homework was not done and it could be seen in the results and marks. However, I was able to pass my Secondary Graduation tests while serving in the Finnish Army in Mikkeli – for this thanks go to Anna-Liisa who was already that time my married wife. For choosing engineering as my education I owe many thanks to Mr Kai Hirvonen who worked as foreman in the firm of Keuruun Auto, Keuruu town in Middle-Finland: he was the person who prompted and supported me in many different ways by bringing me information of the previous tests in the Technical Institute of Helsinki and also reminding me regularly of the importance of further education in the life. I had to borrow money for my studies – that time we did not have the government financial support which is available today for students – we were a family with our son Jukka and Anna-Liisa had also started her studies in the Helsinki School of Economics in capital of Finland. There we were with very little money and every September we had to find an apartment where to stay until end of the semester – the rent for 8-9 months we had to pay cash when moving in. I earned extra money as a lorry driver (heating oil in the night time to the near surrounding of Helsinki), during weekends I drove taxi in the city and I also translated service books etc for the Finnish car importers – all the earnings were very much needed for the livelihood of our small family.

During those years I learned the following guidelines which have became my code of maxim:

  • to be lazy is a good habit – you only have to follow this rule with a delicate instinct
  • if you do not have enough power for doing something, you need more time or an easier or longer track to do it
  • do not exclude the Murphy´s law and its variations
  • being too close (accurate) when doing things means technical immaturity.

To the first code above I would still add that you should not re-do anything which somebody has already done, i.e. there are means like libraries and internet which can give you useful information that can be basis for your inventions and thus help you. A good example here is the Japanese industry and its rise to the leading position after the defeat and recession during the Second World War. The Japanese people learned from what others had already done.

To clarify the second code above I give the following practical example: when you lift a beam by grasping it in the middle of the trunk you need double that much power as you lift it by turns from both ends. This rule I have put into practise when I lifted the ridge, 8 m long, consisting of 3 logs, to its place without mechanical help, alone by myself. At the moment it stands there carrying safely the rafters.

What experience do I have of the Murphy´s Law? You might have planned your work or activity in such a way that it should turn out successfully – but there will be a failure! The reason in most cases is that you have neglected some minor detail in your plans. However, we are all human beings and you overlooked something important, maybe!

And last but not least, if you want to stress the smallest detail and insist on going through all the minor questions when doing something you are making a real mistake: you have to follow the rules and instructions but do not be too accurate. There is a nice saying about this failure – a big country/question – therefore also big tolerances. In most cases using humour will help you to succeed.

The above code of maxim maybe has helped me to keep my hair and its dark colour – though I am a retired person!



The most important hobby is the pop music. My family members and neighbours might be annoyed by my music making because among my instruments is also a noisy tenor saxophone. I bought it while working in Libya in the years 1980-1983. Earlier I had played only stringed instruments like guitar, banjo and mandolin. When staying in Tanzania in the years 1990-1993 I was a member of a jazz band “Chalinze Stompers” the most members being foreigners, mainly from Scandinavia. I used to be the solo singer in rehearsals and during breaks in our performances.

I am also interested in the old records, i.e. gramophone records. I have in my possession two portable gramophones: the Swedish “Sonora” and the British “His Masters Voice” which have brought many questions from our grandchildren like: “no electricity” and “no loudspeaker” and is working without them – how come? I am an eager visitor of second hand shops and car boot sales from where I have found some rarities like the “Autumn Leaves/Les feuilles mortes” by Joseph Kosma in Russian language, the original record “Rock around the clock” by Bill Haley and the “Flottarkärlek” (logger love) sung by Delta Rhythm Boys in Swedish.

Opel Olympia Coupe.

Opel OL38 with museum car plates.

Front vignettes.

Based on my profession one of my hobbies is renovation work of cars – at the moment there is under reparation works an Opel Olympia Coupe, manufactured in the year 1939 and the first registration in July 1939 – three months before my birth! The car comes from Heinola town in Eastern Finland, our home town in the 1970´s. As far as is known the first owner was Mr Lauri Pihla, a photographer and the registration plate had – and still has - a number MG-267.

In summer 2005 I had just started to work with the car in Harviala, Janakkala, near the Hämeenlinna town and the car was standing in the yard where Mr Stuart Koehler, a former chief forester of Harviala Mansion, saw it when passing by and identified the car: he said that it brings into his mind sentimental longing for memories from times of his young years – still a bachelor! Further he gave me the information that he had been many times travelling with the car together with Mr Seppo Pihla, the son of Lauri Pihla – the aim was to attract beautiful young girls with the car! That afternoon we had a nice chat together – he going back into his memories and me making some fantasies for the future. How did I get to find the car? It was through Mr Risto Pihla, the son of Seppo Pihla – my son Jukka knew Risto Pihla and this was the way to get into contact with the old, nostalgic car. From these lines you get the idea about the interesting history of the car.

I have started to write down my experiences from all the different projects I have been working in – the name of the book will be “A project Worker´s Manual”. I still have diaries from my working years and those will be the “real” basis for the writing. Thus I might remember different problems and maybe also some successes, if any!