Amazing Kids! Magazine

Why are the People of Ecuador Always Happy?

By Akhil Kumar, age 14, Palo Alto, California


I was standing on the Equator, with one leg on the Northern and the other on the Southern Hemisphere. Yes, Ecuador lies right in the middle of the world.

On my recent trip to South America, I learned that the people there seem to enjoy a middle-of-the-ground, yet happy and content life with a positive outlook.

When you step on the streets of Quito, Ecuador’s capital city, it does not take too long to see laughter and happiness in its people. This was not exactly the perception I had before my trip. I thought Ecuador would be a poor and unsafe place, just as the media seems to portray it. However, this was a different place altogether. People seemed genuinely nice and happy. Did I say happy, again?

So what’s the secret to happiness in Ecuador? I posed the question to our travel guide and he said something profound that stood out to me. “We don’t worry about the next thing in our life, we enjoy what we have today, even though it’s not much.” I was truly amazed. How could someone be as happy as we are if they don’t have anything remotely close to the luxuries we have? Don’t they want to experience the fast cars, the cool iPhone, and whatever new technology comes out? Perhaps it was naive for my guide to say he’s happy without experiencing the affluence the West offers.

But then I thought to myself, What if the majority of people in Ecuador thought the same way? So I did some research and soon discovered that most Ecuadorians share similar socioeconomic status, love helping each other, and like to live in like-minded communities. That perhaps explains the reason why there’s no concept of intense competition here. People work hard, are honest and self-sustaining, and enjoy the small things in life.

Ecuador is the largest producer of red roses in the world, and it makes perfect sense why – the people here love to take the time to “smell the roses.” Money doesn’t buy you happiness.

As my amazing vacation neared its end, I looked back at the great adventure I had in Ecuador. My biggest takeaway was that I should learn to be happier and work harder at helping others. And I won’t sweat the small stuff!