The Definition of Happiness – The smallest thing can be the most exciting experience

Chiwa is born in Zimbabwe but lives in Surinam. Chiwa loves to travel and has lived in different cities in different parts of the world. I met him during my trip last august and talked to him about his own happiness and the differences between happiness in Surinam and other countries.

During the interview, Chiwa tells me he feels very happy and grateful because of the privileged upbringing he has had. He realizes that a lot of things worked out for him. At the moment, he continues, his life in Surinam feels like a holiday. His internship at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) [1] is a very good experience and gives him the chance to discover south america, a part of the world he hadn’t seen before.

Chiwa noticed that in Surinam things are bit more like back home in Zimbabwe.

“If you go to America or the United Kingdom, people get to be happy once they buy into a consumerist culture. They want things to make them happy, while in some developing nations – Surinam being an example – there isn’t as much around. People get to feel more content with what they have and appreciate the smaller things like going to a creek for a weekend and just swimming and getting to enjoy time with people more than things themselves.” 

Happiness: the smallest thing can be the most exciting experience

To Chiwa, happiness is the ability to be content with what you have. During his travels he has noticed there’s lots of things that other people have, meaning you will always want other things if you get into the habit of needing things to make you happy. However, if you get into the mindset of appreciating the things you see and while traveling being fascinated by the small things you see, the smallest thing can be the most exciting experience. For example if you walk in the Amazon and you get to see a dangerous snake and look at it how it lives in the wild.

“I know i’m doing really well”

Chiwa thinks that because he came from a developing country himself – Zimbabwe experienced a very turbulent time, he knows what bad can be like. Therefore he appreciates things a lot more than some other people would. “No matter how bad it gets while I’m travelling, I kind of know i’m doing really really well. So I feel like I’m able happy a lot of the time.

By: Fleur Terpstra

[1] UNDP advocates for change and connects countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life. It provides expert advice, training, and grants support to developing countries, with increasing emphasis on assistance to the least developed countries.