Volunteer Review – Annika Suvi-Marjaana

Happy moments for all of us 

For me it was not just the end of 2018 but the end of living two years abroad – in Portugal and finally in Romania.

2016 I moved from the very very north of Finland (Utsjoki) to Oijärvi, from there to Espoo (south of Finland) and finally to Portugal, and last 3 months in Romania. And now, after few weeks in Finland and home, I’m returning to the very north Lapland (more about that at the end of the text )

When I first heard about the project Ananda Kalyani in Portugal, I was amazed! I couldn’t believe such project exists that combines every aspect of my passions: community life, healthy lifestyles, cooking, yoga, (mantra) music, (adventure) education, … It seemed like my DREAM project, and after 2 years I feel the same, and even more!

I got to overcome many fears and challenges and stretch my limits. I learned the importance of spiritual practices in my life and found many answers for the questions that I had within me. I also learned to live with and accept the feelings of insecurity and uncertainty, because most probably I will never know everything 

I can not describe how grateful I am for the Ananda Marga community and meeting such wonderful, inspiring people and for all the support and love that I’ve received, all the lessons I got to learn and process, all the challenges, all the joy and the pain, the inspiration, the music, the food, all the festivities and events….. and the list goes on!

Here’s some of the things I got to do during those 2 years:

I got to work at the organic vegetable gardens and berry plantations and help with some construction work (mainly painting).
I volunteered at the Ananda – Festival of Bliss.
I got to play, perform and connect with amazing musicians.
I volunteered at the MicroVita festival kitchen that we took around some alternative festivals in Portugal.
I joined the international Youth in Permaculture -project, that offered me another community of support, friendship and inspiration.
I got to plan and apply funding for international youth projects, and after hard work we got 4 projects in total accepted!! I will be involved in 3 of them (inshallah).
I got to join an intensive yoga lifestyle training and play for a mantra music album of Jyoshna LaTrobe in Ireland, which was an amazing experience. (if you want to hear the final album, contact me please!!)
I got to work in a vegetarian restaurant, Thank you Ananda Café , Didi Shiila & Jishnu 
I worked as the main chef in a vegetarian kindergarten in Bucharest, Thank you Gradinita Rasarit and Didi Ananda Devapriya for the experience and the opportunity 

I thought I don’t want to mention people by name because then I should mention everyone that I’ve met on the path! But I want to give special thanks and acknowledgement to Prakash, Dada Krsnananda, Dada Mahaprajinananda, Didi Malati, Didi ShiilaJishnu, Abhiik Alexandre, Brajesh Francisco, Damini Dalila and Rui Ritambhar and Prahlad for all the Loving, Positive Energy that you put in the project Ananda Kalyanii that makes it grow so fast, so beautiful and inspiring, that offers truly life-changing experiences for the people who come across!  ?And for Didi Ananda Devapriya for running the projects in Romania with such efficiency and unlimited loving, positive energy that offers support for so many people. 

I didn’t visit Finland at all during those 2 years so I had time to create some longing for the Nordic life and nature. Now it already feels like I never left. It’s cold and dark, but so SO beautiful and cozy  So many things happens in our lives in 2 years and there is so much to talk about, and I took this first weeks to rest and spend time with my friends and family  I would love to visit all my friends around Finland, but you know it’s a big country and not so simple to organize.

And now, so fast, Life is offering me such opportunity that will take me back to the north of Lapland in Inari, where I got a job as the municipal youth worker! And one of the most fantastic things is that they are willing to let me go and do the youth projects in Portugal, and I will try to bring a group from Lapland to go with me  I miss Portugal and the life there, and I’m so happy that we can keep the connection and cooperation alive. ??

Life is so unexpected, and for me it seems sometimes really crazy with the changing environments, but – even how hectic it looks like, it really works for me. Time will tell how long life will keep me in the north this time ❄️☃️ Now, the Polar Night is “officially” passed and we can enjoy the sunlight more and more each day.

  Baba Nam Kevalam – Love is all there is