Today is no ordinary day – it is the UN’s first ever oficial International day of Happiness!
GDP (gross domestic product) has for a long time been the official yard stick by which a country’s ‘progress’ is measured. The reality is of course is that how much we earn, as individuals or as a nation, does not wholly or even partially reflect human development. At Quest, we see this clearly, working alongside individuals and local communities in Africa and South America, where so often the odds are stacked against people, and yet, time and time again, the people smile, laugh, and embrace innovation and creativity in their lives. For a fantastic suggestion on how to embrace happiness and well-being in your life, check out the New Economics Foundation’s ‘Five Ways to Well-Being’.
If money is not happiness, then what is? That’s a big ole question for a Wednedsay afternoon, and one we have been pondering here in the office these past few days…
Simon and Hanna unanimously agree that the arrival of baby Ethan has been “without any shadow of a doubt the greatest day ever” and that his laughter is an instant happiness tap for them both… Go on, have a listen
Amazing and inspiring people?
Jon tells us, “my happiest moment(s) are whenever I get to visit our Villa Maria Project in Lima, Peru. It’s a tough existence for the people living there, but they are some of the most positive, enthusiastic people you’ll ever meet, with some of the most childish senses of humour! The people and the place helps put things back into perspective for me and reminds me about what we should really value in life, and I always have so much fun there. This video helps to sum it up I think”.
Enthusiasm and team work?
For me, I think the happiest Quest moment so far has been when I was leading last summer’s Tanzania team. Returning to the school a month after my team had departed to find that the teachers had transformed the basic market gardens that we had started together during the summer was a real high. The garden was three times the size, and a sea of green as tasty Mchicha, tomatos, and peppers basked in the sunshine and daily water.
Engaging the teachers and students in ideas for the educational tyre playground was also a very happy moment. My team can testify to the challenge those tyres posed, but through sweat and tears, we planted them, all 25 of them, and now the school has an interactive resource to make its lessons more engaging for the students.
And for Rose?
down my happy times at Quest has been pretty tough, there a quite a few
contenders from the years… Would I pick the community hand-over day for Kipico
Sand Dam in Kenya this summer? The first time I saw a baby elephant in the
flesh up-close? Or even the pure relief after my first, last and ridiculously
terrifying bungee jump…?
In the end I went with a more recent event, and a fairly unremarkable-seeming day, when I
found out that Pensulo Maternity, HIV & Health Centre has finally had its
electricity connected and working!! Being involved with the very
beginning stages of the build, from foundations to roof, and plastering, was a
real privilege. Knowing that the clinic serves over 40,000 people and can cut
down a potential walk for an expectant mother by around 2 hours, I couldn’t feel
happier about its electrification if I tried. Electricity will not only
mean the clinic can do things like properly store their drugs without an
expensive fuel generator, but will also benefit the whole community, such as
getting their maize mill working.
To steal a quote from Spike Milligan, “And God said, ‘Let
there be light’ and there was light, but the Electricity Board said He would have to wait until
Thursday to be connected.”
Thats what makes us happy – how about you?