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A group of young women performing Rwandan dances at the Market of Possibilites at the square of Art Factory in Porvoo on Saturday April 16 2015. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

The fire alarm rang loudly.

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It was Saturday noon at the Culture and congress centre Taidetehdas – Art Factory, located by the river of the small city of Porvoo in eastern Uusimaa region.

A crowd of about 1,500 stormed out. They were rockers, young players, competing in a band competition.

Now they stood outside, under the cloudy sky, afraid and stupefied.

But the terror and fear quickly turned into joy and surprise. Most of the rockers were surely not aware of a multicultural event, the Market of Possibilities, arranged by the local expats, just opened outside at the square of the Art Factory.

They heard the calling of the joyful, colourful crowd. They smelled the salty scent of the Cambodian food. They were standing in the melting pot.


There was no shortage of balloons. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

After the fire alarm was called off, the event returned to the normal amount of crowd of about a few hundred.

There were Burmese dancers performing as well as eastern, and a group of young women in colourful clothes performed Rwandan dances, where the dancers appeared to move in a trance-like state.


Soini Hänninen, 20, is finishing the edges of a piece constructed by her friend. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

The smell of spray paint clouded the corner by the river. A wall had been set up, where one could legally tag, throw-up or paint a piece of the lifetime – not too many opportunities in Porvoo for graffiti writing.


Jocke Lybeck, one of the organisers, received a unique present for his efforts. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

In addition, one could attend various workshops from composting to playing the djembe drum.

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“We had so much fuuuun!” a group of dark- skinned ladies screamed.

“The event was warm, fun and all the good things,” said Noora Naalisvaara, a local and a mother.

It was all over, too soon, by 16:00 and I smelled the fresh breeze from the river, heard a few additional laughs and then I sat in the car and started my ride back to the busy streets of Helsinki, thinking that I will definitely attend again next year.

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Markets of Possibilities are events where NGOs present the public with their activities, distribute information, and offer visitors new experiences. The organisations receive support from Kepa ry, the umbrella organisation for Finnish civil society organisations (CSOs) who work with development cooperation or are otherwise interested in global affairs.

The Markets are held in April-September in around 20 localities in Finland. The aim of these events is to bring out the multicultural side of Finland. Every year the local coordinators decide on the markets’ theme and the theme for 2015 is Communality. In Porvoo, the event was organised by the Multicultural Association Porvoo, Luckan Integration, and a group of local volunteers.

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