In a cosy room in Helsinki, an elderly, shy woman was adding some new pieces to a big puzzle showing a savannah landscape with elephants.
It smelled like coffee in the room. Finnish people believe that a good cup of coffee can help you get through tough times; and through mild times as well.
Every ten-fifteen minutes the doorbell would ring and a new man or woman would come in. It was June, but the summer is a bit lazy in Helsinki, so it was still cold.
Hanna, a woman with short hair, wearing a hoodie, was helping the woman solve the puzzle; or rather just keeping her company. Every week, the elderly woman would add some new pieces to the puzzle.
“Sometimes it’s easier to talk with somebody when you’re doing something like a puzzle. You’re concentrating to the puzzle, but at the same time you have the opportunity to talk and you don’t have to sit next to each other and look straight in the eyes,” said Hanna.
It was an informal group meeting for gambling addicts, as well as for their family members. People gather at Tiltti to drink coffee and tea and meet other people who share similar experiences.
Hanna has started as a volunteer at Tillti, and she now works there helping addicts and their loved ones. The woman who was solving the puzzle, for example, is married to a man with a gambling problem.
But four years ago, Hanna was in a very different situation.