The late Eino Parkkulainen, a Finn who moved to Argentina in 1924 from Kitee, would be proud to see part of his former home in the hamlet of San Martín being used as a library. Built in the mid-1930s, his home is probably the last one in existence built by the Finns that colonized Misiones province in northeastern Argentina.
Parkkulainen was a very enterprising man. One of the many things he accomplished during his lifetime was write a Finnish-Spanish dictionary. Unfortunately, the dictionary no longer exists.
Colonia Finlandesa was founded in 1906 by Arthur Thesleff.
Patricia Ocampo and Daniela Paola Friedl are spearheading a project to build numerous community libraries throughout Misiones. The first ones to open their doors to the public are the libraries of San Martín and Puerto Leoni. Check out this video (in Spanish) of the inauguration of the San Martín Library on May 24.
The first picture I took of Pakkulainen’s home was in 1978.
If you ever visit Misiones province and visit Colonia Finlandesa, you’ll probably pass by Parkkulainen’s former home.
In 1984, when I was taking pictures of the house, a fifty-year-old woman came out and asked me what I was doing. Everything was fine after I told her that I was doing research on the Finns of Misiones.
“Send don Parkkulainen many regards when you see him,” she said. “Tell him that the house isn’t in such good shape. In a few years it may not be standing any longer.”
If you continue walking about 70 meters from the house you’ll soon hear the sound of rushing water of the Mártires River. If you stand on the wooden bridge that crosses it built by Artturi Heino about fifty years ago (in 1984), you’ll conclude that it too won’t last long.
After crossing the bridge you’ll be in Colonia Finlandesa.*
*Enrique Tessieri: Kaukainen maani. WSOY. Juva 1986. p. 33.