The Suvela Bazaar extended over one whole week: September, 4th – 11th. However, the main day of the event was Saturday September, 10th.

The week started with the inauguration mass of the new chapel of Suvela and a feast which included speeches e.g. from the architect, á cappella singing group Papas no Mamas and activities for children as well as coffee with sandwiches and cake.

During the following week there were guided tours each day in the new building complex that hosts both the new chapel and the new rooms of the residential park of Suvela.

The main day of the event – Saturday – consisted of six different activity spots which were located either directly on the pedestrian street Kirstinharju or closely connected to it:

  1. Voimanpesä
  2. The mosque of Suvela
  3. Asian Food Market
  4. The square of the old chapel of Suvela
  5. The kindergarten of Suvela
  6. The residential park of Suvela
  7. The new chapel of Suvela.
The activity spots of the Suvela Bazaar. Photo by the city of Espoo in 2013.

The activity spots of the Suvela Bazaar. Photo by the city of Espoo in 2013.

The idea of the program was to offer possibilities for dining, enjoying music and dances, selling and buying various items as well as joining different children activities over the whole area along the pedestrian street of Kirstinharju. The program thus consisted of these:

  1. information about the consultation services concerning housing, official services and incomes by Voimanpesä, Trapesa and the Espoo cathedral parish; Indian restaurant Lounastuuli; circus workshop for children; info booth of the Suvelan Onni housing Project of Espoon Asunnot
  2. open house, tours and presentations in the mosque; possibility to try a hijab
  3. food stacks of ethnic grocery stores
  4. information booths of different societies; Middle Eastern-African cafe & restaurant; Bollywood dancing, Russian violinist and guitarist and poems; library bike of Entresse on the move; street musicians from the music school Cuculus
  5. dropped out from the Suvela Bazaar during the previous week
  6. blanket flea market; open picnic with own food, grill available; basketball training and goal kick race for youngsters by Suna Basketball Club and Esbo Bollklubb; Bollywood dances & henna tattooing; guided tours
  7. guided tours; Marthas’ yard cafe; Iraqian violinist; concert by the music school Avonia; panel discussion about “Suvela of my dreams”
The program of the Suvela Bazaar.

The program of the Suvela Bazaar.


As usual, there were also some changes in the program along the way – both positive and negative ones:

  • The Mannerheim League for Child Welfare (MLL) signed up for the event in order to tell about its program ”Friend for an immigrant mum” and to offer face painting for children by the booths of societies (I had asked the local MLL society to join the event but they had refused due to the lack of resources at the time).
  • The youth centre of Suvela was disappointed that no one had thought about asking them to join the event and wanted to invite all the teenagers and parents to their open house and snacks from the afternoon on (the reason why I did not ask them was that the youth centre is located far from the pedestrian street Kirstinharju).
  • The music school Cuculus did not find any pupils who would be willing to perform after the summer holidays after all. However, another music school JamKids was willing to arrange a music workshop for children in the yard of Voimanpesä instead.
  • Surprisingly, the kindergarten did not get any enrollments in the flea market of children’s clothes from the parents, so this activity was moved to the neighbouring residential park of Suvela just before the event.
  • The teachers of the circus workshop from the Espoo school of performing arts ESKO had accidentally gone to a wrong place, so there were visitors who could not find them.
  • There was only one ethnic grocery store that participated in the event all in all, because of three concurrant coincidents:
    1. One of the ethnic grocery stores closed down just before the Suvela Bazaar and another one had just witnessed a shift of ownership;
    2. Muslims’ Eid al-Fitr was celebrated only two days after the Suvela Bazaar which would fill the grocery stores with clients shopping for food and clothes for the feast keeping the owners very busy;
    3. The owners of one grocery store had misunderstood the time, even if I had explained it to them several times.

Especially the last reasons tell a lot about what can go wrong when trying to get immigrants to participate in an event.

    Sometimes there are just such changes in immigrants’ life situation that make long-term commitments impossible for immigrants. These are as impossible for others to be able to forecast and take into consideration when planning an event.
    At least part of the immigrants live according to their own cultural life circle with their own seasonal feasts and habits which may cause obstacles to participate in an event. Since the cultural variety among immigrants is so vast, it is impossible to avoid overlaps between cultural and religious highlights on one hand and the planned event on the other hand.
    Immigrants’ language abilities are hardly ever as good in the foreign language as the native speakers’. Therefore there is always a chance for misunderstandings in the mutual communication.