Vanuatu is a Pacific island country located in the South Pacific Ocean. The archipelago, which is of volcanic origin, is 1,750 kilometres (1,090 mi) east of northern Australia, 540 kilometres (340 mi) northeast of New Caledonia, east of New Guinea, southeast of the Solomon Islands, and west of Fiji. Vanuatu used to rank fourth in total 178 happiest countries in the world, according to Happy Planet Index (HPI).
It is because of locating in the Ring of Fire, Vanuatu is easily affected by natural disasters. In 2015, the Paml storm had destroyed the archipelago, which made 75 thousands of people lose their houses. Although they suffered from the loss, local people rapidly started a new life. Villages were built after a short period of time.
A question is raised: What makes the small land suffering many natural disasters be always happy? One of the reasons was given since the Independence in 1980, lands in Vanuatu belonged to indigenous people. Lands were not sold to foreigners. Vanuatu means “Our forever land”. In addition, there are more than 110 languages used here.
The survey of Vanuatu National Statistics Office (VNSO) stated that landowners were happier than those who did not have. Nowadays, three fourths of the country’s population (nearly 300 thousands of people) lives in the countryside. Almost all local people on islands are allowed to use lands and do farming at places where they live. Goods of pork, yams, and pepper are used for exchange in Vanuatu without money.
People in Vanuatu are always happy, not because they have a beautiful house, it is because they can witness their children’s growth, teach them to plant and work like parents. That is the culture, customs of the archipelago. They respect leaders, elders and believe that it will help their community become wealthier. “Family is very important to us”, Brenda Daniel, a local said.
“We always relax our minds, take it easy and laugh. You will always see smiles on faces of those who you have never met before coming here. That is how we live”, a local explained why they are always happy. “In our culture, we stick to gardens since we were born. They feed us and we are happy when we have a good relationship with lands”.
In addition, to local people, they are interested in the environment and they define that happiness is when you are responsible for the nature, lands and water source.
Dorothy Hamish, another local said: “We are still alive after the destruction of Paml, we have active volcanoes and earthquakes. But, we still overcome and live well. That is us”.
“When living in peace, no disasters, we feel happy. We believe that is a favor, a blessing”.
The report of the Happy Planet Index depends on standards such as national welfare, longevity, gender equality and comfort…
In recent years, Vanuatu’s government often faces the change of sea level, climate change and islands disappearing. Moreover, the archipelago is seen as the most dangerous and riskiest in the world, according to a report in 2014 of United Nations University.
From Vietnam, flights to Vanuatu are connected via Australia. The flight time from the east of Australia to Vanuatu is about four hours. Passengers can book flights to Vanuatu of Virgin Australia and Air Vanuatu to fly directly to Vanuatu from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne; the destination is Vanuatu’s capital - Port Vila. The Bauerfield International Airport is about 15 minutes by car to Port Vila. Coming here, you can take a taxi or available shuttle of hotel to go to the resorts on the island.