Happiness is an inherent human condition

Thus far in India, I have encountered so much happiness. I’ve seen countless genuine smiles in these past four days and I find myself smiling constantly. At the St. Louis School for the Deaf and Blind, all of the students I met seemed overjoyed. The blind boys glowed when I shook their hand and introduced myself, while the deaf boys smiled incessantly while we played basketball. There was no frustration, no anger stemming from their disability, only smiles and happiness. The students of the government school also radiated genuine happiness. Both in the classroom singing their alphabet songs, or outside playing various games with the basketball, they smiled and giggled and jumped for joy. As I felt the students’ palpable happiness, I remembered the humble lifestyles of the children, and the hardship their families must be facing right after the heavy rains. My thought process continued, and I began to think about the potential health and family problems hidden behind the students’ happiness.

I first began to wonder how the recent heavy rains effected the students’ lives. Are the students and their families living in a safe, dry place? Do they have access to clean water? I quickly began to realize that the children I had met at the government school could be facing serious problems at home because of the flooding and widespread poverty. I also wondered and began to worry if the children were facing any health problems. As all of these worries, usually not relevant in America, quickly overwhelmed me. Each student I had met has their own story with its own difficulties.

While these many questions popped into my head, I began to appreciate the students’ happiness even more; despite the problems they were undoubtedly dealing with at home, problems that I have never been faced with, they continued to live each moment to the fullest with a smile on their face. After visiting both the St. Louis School and the government school, the power of the students’ happiness became clear to me. If blind and deaf students could smile constantly with the simple touch of a basketball, and the government school children could laugh and giggle in a powerless, cramped classroom, couldn’t everyone in this world find happiness somehow? Happiness transcends language barriers, poverty, hardship and cultural differences.   Encountering this happiness in India proves to me that happiness is an inherent human emotion, and no matter my circumstances, I can always find happiness in my life. 

- Emma K.

Niswarth Program2 Comments