In a recent international survey it was found that the native Fijians are amongst the happiest and friendliest people in the world. Without the affluence of Western society, how is it that a native people who seem to live in poverty compared to the West, are actually more happy and content?
A deeper look at their close-knit sense of community and family, coupled with their deep roots in ancient traditions and their relationship with their land, holds some of the clues as to why the descendants of a native culture are somewhat better off than the rest of the modern world.
Isolation from the rest of the world and imperialist domination has protected the native Fijian’s respect and embracing of culture, traditions and beliefs. Early British intervention in land ownership prevented their ancestors from selling off the majority of their lands to unscrupulous foreigners who came to these shores with gifts and bribes of whiskey, gun powder and musket guns in return for parcels of freehold land.
Today, more than 85% of Fiji’s land and islands is still owned by the native people, allowing most to live without the burden of a home loan mortgage or indebtedness to a foreign lender. And with an abundance of organic foods in the sea, on the trees and in the farm – survival without money is the legacy for a native people who did not become westernized like so many of the other Pacific islands like Samoa, Vanuatu and Hawaii.
How lucky it must feel to wake up in the village each day and not worry about paying the banks to occupy their own land. Without a major debt to burden their lives and food only footsteps away, native Fijians need only think about what they’re going to do today.
Carpe Diem – seize the day.