The first thing you find when you get off the plane in Port Vila (Efate) in addition to the reduced staff of the few airlines that land here (with their flowery shirts and tropical smiles that seem to be part of their uniform but are the most authentic I`ve ever seen!), is a giant banner that says in local language “Welcome to Vanuatu” “The happiest country in the world”
This joyful Melanesian archipielago is comprised of 83 islands with different dialects, and as we got informed before jumping into them, they are all so diverse and unexplored that depending on which one you choose, you are quite likely to meet Cannibal Tribes, Volcanoes in constant eruption, Secret underwater passageways that lead to Wild life Sanctuaries of unimaginable beauty, and other surprises that could only exist in a place that seems to have not yet been discovered by the rest of humanity.
After touring it deeply, (as a “Treasure Hunter” does when -before his dazzled eyes- the doors of a Pharaonic Fortress full of ancient Jewelry open wide!), boarding Giant Ships that seem to have been rescued from the Chronicles of Captain Cook, taking off in tiny small planes where -before checking in- you are asked to confirm if you are aware that there is a 50% chance that you do not arrive at destination, rowing in the same canoes that the first inhabitants of the islands once upon a time built to cross from one to another… the only thing I can say -apart from “send me a Spacecraft if you need me back in Earth”- is that they couldn`t have chosen a better slogan to describe the population of this Hidden Paradise…
I remember that my block-headed professors at University voided an investigation I had prepared for the Subject “Adolescence and Statistics” in which I intended to compare the different levels of “happiness” in our society according to certain variables.
The reason given to reduce my work to “junk” was that “happiness is not measurable or computable”.
Today I have the honor of thanking those poor wretches hidden under the title of “teachers and professors”, capable of trampling on the investigation of a passionate student only because it does not fit their evaluation schemes, since I don’t need no statistics or measurement tools to demonstrate what I feel.
Actually what is not really “measurable or computable” is the amount of idiots like those, dedicated to frustrate the illusions of thousands of children who dream of climbing Himalayas and end up hanging from a harness to clean the windows of a skyscraper.
As for me, thanks again for helping me to understand so soon that my place in the world was far away from that square box.
I have reached places that are hardly listed on maps, where you may not find soft drinks or vending machines, but anyone you meet on the road will instantly climb a palm tree to get you a coconut if he feels that you are thirsty…
I have discovered the country with the Happiest People in the World !!!
And I can assure you that happiness has nothing to do with the “marks” you get at the end of the year, but with the dreams you fulfil throughout your whole life…