Volunteer experience: Aki Takami, Keuruu ecovillage

Who are you and what are you doing in your home country?

My name is Aki Takami. I come from Japan – big city next to Tokyo named Yokohama. I’m 20 and I live there with my family.  I am on my third year of studying sociology with focus on immigration in Japan. Now I am on my summer holidays.

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Why did you decide to volunteer in Finland?

This is my fifth camp. Two years ago I started to volunteer. Since then I have been in Turkey helping at the university campus, Germany with the theater workshop then in Estonia cutting fire wood and before here I was also attending international camp in Japan planting trees.

I really like to learn about different cultures and their differences, meet new people so I become addicted to volunteering. I really liked people and nature in Estonia and also as a kid a used to watch cartoon Pipi Longstocking so I always wanted to visit Sweden or Finland.

Why did you choose this camp?

I really wanted to see Northern Europe and countryside so this seemed really good. Of course also the date was perfect and they even offered bed instead of sleeping bag. :-)

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What would you like to tell us about your experience at Keuruu Ecovillage?

I learn a lot about herbs and how to pick them, dry them and preserve them for the winter. Also about all the different berries and how to clean a goat house, how people are living here all together and rules they respect. First time here I  have meet somebody from Iraq and heard about their lives as refugees. In Japan people are not very welcoming to refugees and foreigners. I don’t know why.

How is your typical day?

I start the day with yoga by very nice villager seventy something old Ritva, then I have excellent Finnish breakfast with all the berries and oat porridge. Then we work with local people, have lunch with fresh ingredients from the garden. Then we have 2 hours of working, then sauna, music, walking,  talking, film and dinner. Then spending time with everybody.

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What has been the most challenging and the best thing about this camp?

Working with the people of different character – Japanese working style is different. The most I like is talking with local people and learning some Finnish words and learning about Finnish peoples viewpoints. Also learning more about Finnish nature. I would like to visit Finland again.

What has been the most memorable thing about Finland and Keuruu ecovillage workcamp?

Picking herbs and drying herbs, making jam and sauna. Its very different than Japanese sauna. Relaxing – in Japan people are always thinking about time and are in a hurry. Here I listen to the birds and nature after we have sauna. And the forest! Forest is so beautiful and different than in Japan. And the food, the food is delicious!

Your greetings to other people considering to join a workcamp?

Come and join because you can learn so much about yourself and about the world!

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