Monday, September 18, 2006

Nang and Sami...

I dropped in at the hospital after our CHAFF meeting to convey our very best to




the proud parents and to deliver this

bouquet of flowers

on behalf of many CHAFF participants to them.

I took a picture of the beautiful baby, but unfortunately, my camera messed up the image.

I will have to depend on one of the others to send me a photograph of the baby to upload for all the many people who sent their greetings through me.

Nang has bounced back so well after such a long and hard labour. I am sure we will see her around very soon.

Most of the great personality shots from today's CHAFF meeting were sent to me by Matti. Unnop also sent me several great pictures including the first in thes series below.

Matti and Eero

Benjamin and Saana

This weeks CHAFF meeting had three new participants, Eero (retired from the Oulu Harbour) and Saana (studying architecture in Oulu University), both Finns, and Benjamin, from Australia.

Ilari and Tony




Andy and Ildiko


Several regulars were there, many back from their holidays.

The food was great.

As usual, we will meet next Sunday at 13:00 hours at the Pailin Restaurant, Kenttätie 9, Kasarmi Area, Oulu 90100. But watch your email Inbox for an mportant discussion we must have on our meetings. All views expressed will be greatly appreciated.

See you then.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Week in review

(Cross-posted on my Jacob's Blog.)

This is getting to be a habit as I just do not seem to get any time during the week to update my blogs. So here again I try to review past events. You will have to wait another week to get to see the saturday Puzzle!

Nang is the lady on the right holding the child.

First, I give news of our latest addition to our Oulu community. Nang and Sami had a baby girl on Saturday evening. The possible name will be Hilla, as that was yesterday's name for the day and also because Nang and Sami want a real old fashioned name. However, the baby will have 3 names, including possibly Sami's mother's name.

The baby is 50 cm long and weghed 3.8 kg when born. Labour was long but at the end of it, when I spoke to Nang, she was happy to hold the baby. Sami gave me the details when he arrived at the Pailin Restaurant to pick up some Thai food for Nang!

Congrats to both of you from all our CHAFF community.

Last week Soda had a football match which was played in almost impossible conditions. Heavy mist made visibility almost zero. Soda was tried in a new place and he played extremely well. The Oulu Blacks won quite easily 3-1.

Yesterday was the last game for the football team that Soda plays for. They had lost a game at Tornio, but the coach of the Oulu Blacks discovered hat the Tornio team had used overage players and not paid the required fees to the organisers. So the result was overturned and the game was awarded to the Oulu Blacks 3-0.

So they went to their last game waith a 8 straight wins. And the minute the game ended, Soda sent me a text message and then called to say that they had won 3-0 and that he had scored a goal - with the left foot.

That was stupendous news, as Soda has played in many different positions, most of them hampering his style of play. He needs place to move and it was in the last week's game that he was played in a position, outside left, which game him a chance to show his real skill. He had several shots at the goal and was unlucky not to score, so yesterday's goal was one long overdue.

Great work Soda.

On Wednesday evening I was called to the Walda Youth Centre as Ilmi had got a new music mixer for the Centre and he had asked the Thai Boys, Kim. Soda and Yut, to give a performance of their style of Thai music. The music was superb and the small Walda audience was stomping. As the window was open, I saw several passers-by stopping to listen to this unusal rhythm and sound.

(Photos from my evening at Walda are not yet ready. This one is from a report I still hacve to publish!)

The only problem is that the boys have not learnt stage body language. Soda is a natural performer, but the other two were not making the important eye contact with the audience. They were expressionless. That is not what a hit group does. But the group is so young that there is tremendous potential to develop a great group out of them.

Saturday was also Rugby day. I missed last week where they turned the tables on the Helsinki side who had whipped them just a couple of weeks before. This time Oulu won and won comfortably.

But this week the story was different as injuries cramped the Oulu side again and they were not up to the mark against the side from Tampere. There were occasional flashes of brilliance as a long run try by the Oulu Captain.

I got a shock this last week when I went to the Wholesale shop and saw this kilo price for mangoes.

Euro 2630 for a kilo of tinned mangoes - but closer inspection found it was an error!

Ildi and Ilari are back and I am glad to say that Ildi has connected with Gina. Already as she was driving in from Jyväskylä, Ildi was on the line to me to get Gina's phone number. I am sure the two of them will do some great work in Monika.

Let us hope you do not have to wait till next week to get an update of this blog!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Finally it is done...

Many hundreds of you have been asking me to email you whenever I make a new entry on my blogs.

Now I have taken steps to ensure that every time I update my blogs, you will get an email.

However, you have to do something IF you want this to happen.

You will find on each blog page a small box just below the link to view my profile.

You have to enter your email address where you want to be informed into that box and send it so that Change Monitor can do the necessary entries.

Only enter this information for the pages that you really want to monitor.

I do not want your email Inbox filled with these update messages!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Sisko means "sister"

(Cross-posted on my Jacob's Blog.)

I had the good fortune to visit the home of Sisko and Pentti Paakki to convey birthday greetings to Sisko, who was 65 today.

The meaning of the word "Sisko" is "sister". And Sisko is a real sister to everyone, including her 13 children and the 25+ grandchildren.

Both of them have been active supporters of CHAFF, but Sisko has been unable to attend regularly as she works at the Haukipudas Health Centre and is either on night duty or on duty before or during many CHAFF meetings.

Their son Tuomas and his wife Mirja with their new four month old baby, Oko and their two other children were there to help celebrate this occasion. They live in Vantaa. I had had the pleasure of meeting them just over a year ago at the wedding of Sisko and Pentti's daughter Hanna who was married to Jouni.

I did have a problem recognising Mirja as she had changed her hair style. Why do women have to be so difficult? :-)

Happy birthday Sisko and we wish you many many more.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Great CHAFF meetings

Every week our CHAFF meetings draw new people committed to doing something positive. Several well known faces turn up.

Last week we had Kaija bring a visitor from Turkey. Tony was present, as also many regulars. Bill and Kamu, our founders were also present. Many beneficiaries of CHAFF assistance, big and small were also present.

All photographs, except the last two and the one from Vamsi's wedding ceremony in India, are taken by one of our expert photographers, Matti Moisio of Haukpudas.)

This week was slightly different as we had a surfeit of those who have been helping us to solve the problems of other. We had two visitors of Indian origin from the Rauma - Pori region, Kannan and George (who works for TVO).

Also were many regulars, as Kamu, and occasionals as Tony and Isaac,

Some of our bevy of intelligentsia, as Tingting, Andy and Kerstin were in a great mood.

Kamu and Rosa

Matti and Belita

Kamu's three kids, Matti, Rosa and Belita, added much to the liveliness of the meeting. All of them were in a great mood.

Esa and Eila (a little disappointed after having seen Kimi Raikkonen crash out after 3 rounds in the the Formula 1 in Turkey) flanked my pot-belly at the meeting.

Later Tero and a friend Lauri Juho (from raahe) also came to the meeting.

Pentti renewed his contact with Kannan. Unfortunately, the DVD that Pentti wanted to show us about a good health product had some problems, so we had give up after a couple of attempts!

Newly-wed Vamsi was at the meeting after a hectic viisit to get married in India. Vamsi sent me the above photographs of his bride with him. He is hoping to have a her join him in a few weeks. His bride has a degree in computer science and is presently doing software programming for the Indian multinational Infosys in Hyderabad. I am sure she will find something to do rather quickly after she arrives in Oulu. We will love to have see this beautiful young lady at our CHAFF meetings.

Our wonderful hosts, Pailin and Unnop, dished up some great food for us. Tingting helped prepare a Chinese dish as well.

There was also a display of their vegetable carving where they had carved radish and stained it with beetroot juice!

Monday, September 04, 2006

And yet one more....

(Cross-posted on my JACOB's Blog.)

This morning at 06:30 am as I was about to set out on my daily rounds I felt a strong desire to look at Ville Suomi's blog.

And loaded just probably a few hours earlier was the great news of our newest addition to cosmopolitan Oulu - Mari Suomi, a beautiful baby born at 16:00 hours yesterday to Fumi and Ville Suomi, 4.550 kg in weight and 54 cm long!

Fumi (right) and Anais a few months ago at a CHAFF get-together.

Ville visited India as part of a Rotary Exchange programme and visited the Malayala Manorama (meeting cousins Rajan and Chacko) and also joined cousin Satish Abraham in Kottayam for a get-together at the Boat Club.

Ville is the second from the right.

I took it upon myself to visit the hospital to drop off a small gift, a beautifully carved soap in the shape of a flower by top Finnish-Thai artist Ann, and also drop of a greeting card on behalf of all CHAFF participants.

As I approached the ward, I saw Fumi casually walking around, so I took the opportunity to greet her personally. She allowed me the privilege of seeing their beautiful daughter. (I did not have my camera, so I stole the picture above from Ville's blog!)

I am loading this item on both the Chaff Blog as well as my Jacob's Blog as there are several outside of Chaff who read my blog who know this wonderful couple.

Congratulations and all of us hope to see you both with the baby at one of our CHAFF meetings SOON.

Wonderful addition to Oulu

(Cross-posted on my JACOB's Blog.)

On Friday, Annikki and I got a chance to take part in an event to welcome the new pastor and his family to the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Oulu.

Mika Forsman studied in the Philippines and then worked as a pastor in Finland, Pakistan and Thailand.

He married a beautiful lady from the Philippines, Gina, and they have a lovely 12 year old daughter, Fia.

Eila Maunu was the Mistress of Ceremonies for the evening.

Several of the Church Elders and Members took turns to welcome the Forsmans and give them some advice of life in the north.

Yrjö Väyrynen, the church elder from Oulu:

Jouko Minkkinen, another senior member of the Oulu Church:

Markku and Elina Mäkkinen (and their son Johannes, not seen in the picture) came from Utajärvi to welcome the Forsman family:

Pastor Kalevi Rullo also gave his advice:

The elders of the church prayed for the work of the Forsmans in this area:

A trio of young ladies sang a beautiful song to welcome the Forsmans (our photographer, Anja Husa, is on the extreme left):

Eila then gave them a Floral welcome:

After the welcoming proceedings, Annikki and I went to meet Gina as I thought that she would be the right person to take part in helping foreigners in Oulu. I was surprised to hear that although she had only been three weeks in Oulu, Gina had already tried to contact many foreigners and she had successfully established contact with a few.

I then explained the role I had played in helping the foreign community in Finland and especially Oulu and I introduced her to the wonderful work being done by Ildikó Hámos and Mervi Heikkinen in SINNI on women’s empowerment and the Oulu branch of Monika on handling the problems of immigrant women.

It seemed almost as if I was directed by an unseen hand to be there and meet this wonderful personality who was already striving to establish contacts to do exactly this form of work.

We talked at length. Gina gave me her email address. I have emailed Ildikó Hámos so that they can start working together, a prayer of Ildi being almost answered to the fullest by the arrival of this dynamic young lady from the Phillipines.

As Pastor Forsman’s work extends all around north Finland, Gina will have an opportunity to meet with several foreigners in this region and extend the helping hand to all of them, not just to those in Oulu.

I invited Pastor Forsman, Gina and Fia to attend our weekly CHAFF meetings. I am sure that one of these Sunday’s they will join us to see how we work quietly in our small disorganised, but highly effective way of helping both Finns and Foreigners.