CALLED TO SERVICE
After four years among refugees in Tanzania, she married the sweetheart of her childhood.
Their adventurous journeys together include the engagement in a private plane with her future husband as pilot. On the ride to the wedding she could safely hold his hand as the little plane held her husband’s friend as a pilot and her future brother in law as the minister.
In December 1977t hey moved with their two young sons to Silicon Valley, where they started a successful construction company and became leaders and troopers in the Swedish community in the Valley.
Most recently they have taken on leadership roles in our Swedish services in Los Altos.
They are a busy couple always ready for new adventures with their six grandchildren even after their official retirement.
I sent some questions and Kikki kindly responded, supported by her husband.
Kikki, where were you born and where did you study nursing?
I grew up in Huddinge, south of Stockholm, with two brothers and Mom and Dad. I went to Hushållstekniska Realskolan in Stockholm. My father was the Tryckeri Föreståndare for Häroldens Tryckeri which was Filadelfias tryckeri. My mother worked there too for many years. I was brought up in the church and was inspired to listen to missionaries talking about their work in Africa. That made me so interested.
After almost two years in London as an au pair, learning English and taking care of a family with four children, I returned to Sweden. I was then accepted at St. Eriks Sjuksköterskeskola in Stockholm. I graduated 1964 with special education in general surgery, neurosurgery, and anesthesiology at Södersjukhuset. I worked mostly at Kirurgiska Polikliniken II general surgery from 1974-76.
What led you to work as a young nurse in the Luther help in Tanzania?
I knew I wanted to go further and applied with Lutherhjälpen in Stockholm for a position as a nurse in a refugee camp. I was accepted and very soon begun my four years of service in Rutamba Refugee Settlement called Tanganyika Refugee Settlement, TCRS in Southern Tanzania.
The refugees came from Mozambique. The United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees oversaw the Rutamba Refugee Settlement. When I first came there, there were app 3000 refugees and when I left after four years there were 11,000 refugees – all in different villages. I was working in an outdoor dispensary seeing patients and giving medicine and treatments. I had already studied the language Swahili and carefully read the manual regarding Medicine in African Countries. We built an outpatient’s clinic with an inpatients and maternity unit. The clinic was inaugurated by the Second Vice President of Tanzania. I loved every minute of my stay there. I worked for Lutherhjälpen, TCRS, for four years in Tanzania.
Where and when did you first meet Jan? Where and when did you get engaged and did you get married? When did you move to Silicon Valley?
Jan and I have known each other our whole life. Jan’s and my parents were friends and by that we visited each other often. As an 8-year-old little girl I stayed with the Nordins on their farm Gullunge during the summer. … So – after I got home from 4 years in Africa, I felt kind of “out of place” and I was encouraged by my mother to go to London and get my SRN, State of England Registered Nurse credentials at Guy’s Hospital in London. After that half year I drove my VW across the London Bridge and prayed to God that I would meet Jan when I got home to Sweden to my parents in Stuvsta.
When I arrived home and within one hour Jan was at the front door! My parents had invited some friends for a welcome home party for me. … Little did I know… But God answers to prayers! Jan and I got engaged above Lida Kyrka in the MFI plane that Jan piloted! May 19, 1973, we were married in the Lida Kyrka. We flew in a seaplane from Norrtälje to Lida and Jan’s friend was the pilot. We landed on the water below the church and rode in a horse and buggy up to the church. Jan’s brother was the minister that officiated the wedding and my best friend sang at the ceremony. We, as a family with two small sons, 1 ½ and 3 ½ years old moved to San Jose, December 1977. Now we are blessed with 6 grandchildren.
When did you get involved in the Swedish Midsummer celebrations at Sveadal, the Swedish cottage village Southwest of San Jose? When did you join the Swedish Lodges and Zaida Singers, the Swedish Choir in Silicon Valley?
1978 Jan began to sing in the Zaida Singers. I joined in 1989. Zaida Singers is very often performing at Swedish events in the San Francisco Bay Area. We also joined Svea Lodge 1978 and then Valhalla Lodge of the Vasa Order and have been active and held various offices during the years. Jan has been leading and singing in the Sveadal’s Midsummer fests for 40 years plus. That has been such an enjoyable part of our lives. Our two sons and I on our violins and other musicians-friends have played live music at Midsummer there for many years.
Tell us how the Swedish l services started in Los Altos. How do you view the potential to grow the outreach to more Swedish families in Silicon Valley?
The Los Altos ministry was a wish from many of us in the South Bay Area. Lennart and Brita Swartz were the ones that looked for a place where the church could meet. Lennart found the church in Los Altos and the Swedish Church signed a contract with the Los Altos Lutheran Church. We should be so grateful that we still are able to meet there. In the past we had quite a vibrant children’s group. I believe that we saw recently at the children’s gathering on Easter that if we continued with children’s group before the service, we would reach young families. They, in their turn, would spread the word to their friends too.