Jamaican-born black nationalist, Marcus Garvey, puts it this way, “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”
The fresh breeze from the long trees, the wooden and colourful houses made me feel like I was in touch with the history, the past, origin and the culture of the Wooden-city of Porvoo, Finland, as I walked through the streets on the 9th of August.
I saw a lot of happy and free women in the streets of the second oldest city of Finland. This unconscious observation was definitely prompted by the fact that my heart was going out to the amazing women whom people back home, in South Africa, commemorated. This is about the 1956 march of approximately 20,000 women to the Union Buildings in Pretoria.
The historic atmosphere in Porvoo was very significant to me and I was happy to learn about the history of the place, as I was reflecting on the history of my country too.
But it would be an injustice to not mention how connected this country is. As soon as I hopped on the bus to Porvoo from the city of Helsinki, I switched on the Wi-Fi, and I was connected to free Wi-Fi on the bus, the most seamless connection by far. For a whole hour, cruising through the freeway, moving from one city to the other, I did not lose my connection.
Excuse me, this doesn’t happen where I come from. We don’t have Wi-Fi in our city buses. I thought I had seen it all, but that was before I jumped on a boat in Porvoo for an hour-cruise, and I realised that the boat too had free Wi-Fi. I found myself chatting to friends and family so freely, and they were so envious, because some of them don’t even have free Wi-Fi at their work places.
It was just amazing, and in this digitized world we live in, I believe that it is a big deal to be connected well to post the moments on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to share experiences to the world through these channels.
The one thing I will go back to that is so tied to the history of Porvoo, is the famous Runeberg’s cake. It was the most moist, fresh and delicious cake I have ever had.
Walking around Old Porvoo is like travelling through the pages of an old book of fairy tales. As for me, I get to live and tell the fairy tale to others.