KFOR Chronicle
By SRLT Markku Tuhkanen, Finnish Army

An experienced peacekeeper is hardly surprised when told that the Finnish Army Camp in Lipljan, Camp Ville, has a total of 15 saunas. Those who have previously been on missions with the Finns immediately know that when free time exists, saunas are heated up every morning and every evening and soldiers can enjoy the heat and relaxation!

Everyone knows that mobile phones and Finland make a good combination as well. Almost every soldier here has operated one or at least seen a Finnish made Nokia mobile phone. But what you probably have never seen before is the combination of mobility and the sauna: the ultimate Zastava Sauna Mobile or just shortly: Zaunava!

This unique invention is made from the brainworks that only army engineers possess. Since developed and built at Camp Ville, this Sauna Zastava has been the number one attraction to all privileged visitors to the Finnish Camp. This motorized sauna unit is based on old signals vehicles of the Yugoslav Army. Three abandoned cars where found five years ago when the Finns moved in to the area of Lipljan Paper Factory. One of the cars was maintained in original condition by car enthusiastics among peacekeepers.

When Staff sergeant Jari Jokinen saw that there were still parts of Zastavas lying in the storage hall, he had a brainstorming session with himself and came to a shining conclusion (which any Finn would ultimately have ended up with): let´s build a sauna!

The Engineer platoon welcomed this brilliant idea as unique thinking and in no time the parts of the Zastavas were turned into a mobile sauna with wooden inner walls and a wood heated hot oven. This design of the Engineer platoon was nick-named “Zaunava”.

-Usually Zaunava is used during weekends. Normal procedure is to run four rounds around the camp. Four men can conveniently fit inside and the heat is gentle and moist, explains the inventor StaffSgt Jokinen.

Sauna and the Finns

Finland is truly the land of the sauna and the Finns are a nation of sauna-enthusiasts. Finland has a population of 5.1 million and 1.7 million saunas - one for every three inhabitants. In days past the sauna was a sacred place to the Finns. Originally the sauna was built within the enclosure surrounding the farm buildings and its position on the lakeside only goes back to the early 20th century following the fashion of the gentry and upper-class villas.

The widespread belief that mixed bathing is customary in Finland is unfounded, and runs counter to Finnish folk tradition. In the past, the farmer and his farmhands bathed first at the end of the day´s work in the fields and the farmer´s wife and farm women second, after they had milked the cows!

But the Finns are not only sauna-devotees in the world. Similar bathing houses and customs are also known among many other cultures (the Roman, Turkish and Celtic bath, the sweat lodge of the American Indians, the Japanese furo, the Russian banja, the Mexican temascal). The Finns are, however, a special nation of sauna-users in the sense that they have kept the tradition alive and adjusted it to their modern lifestyle. As conservers, developers and intermediaries they have spread the sauna round the world under the trademark " made in Finland", which has become evident right here in Kosovo at our very own Camp Ville!