The astonishing result in the latest Gallup "positive experience" poll is that Paraguay, the second poorest country in South America (after Bolivia), is the world's most content place. Numbers two through ten are equally surprising. Paraguay is followed by eight more "developing" (as defined by the IMF) Central and South American countries. Denmark, tied for fourth with gang/drug infested Columbia and Costa Rica, is the only "developed" country to make the top ten in the Gallup Positive Experience Index.
Why? How? Aren't a lot of these places – El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, to name three – infamous for people (children in particular) wanting to escape their native country and sneak into America?
Well, apparently not everyone is leaving. And, despite drug crimes and stressed economies, the people there are more than OK. Maybe – probably – because they understand that what most makes our lives gratifying requires the least amount of money. Or very little money.
KEFI is a Greek term that roughly translates into finding joy in difficult circumstances. It can only be experienced by immersing in academics, art, athletics, dance, drama and/or music. If there is a secret to happiness, it's KEFI, and there is no better example of it than what happened at Cateura, a garbage dump near Asuncion, Paraguay.