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Ways of living around the globe

With so many volunteers going out around the globe we often hear back volunteer stories of experiencing different ways of living and embracing new cultures. In fact what there often seems to be common phrases that come back from each destination, that seem to encapsulate these other ways of life and provide an insight into the cultural differences between countries. Of course, we would never like to define an entire nation by a stereotype, but here are our favourite phrases from around the world.

Image courtesy of Costa Rica Big Cats, Primates & Turtles Conservation

Cost Rica: Pura Vida!

Literally translated as pure life, the characteristic phrase has a meaning close to ‘full of life’, ‘this is living’ or ‘doing great’. It was formally recognised and incorporated into dictionaries in the mid-1990s but the phrase has been used by Costa Ricans to express a lust of life since the mid 20 th century. Pura Vida has come to mean a way of life for the Costa Ricans that is something akin to looking on the bright side; no matter your current situation there is also someone less fortunate and that life is not so bad no matter what you have. Most poignantly, it can come with the thought that we’re all here together and life is short so let’s start living it!

Find out more about volunteer projects in Costa Rica.

Madagascar: Mora mora

Meaning something like slowly, slowly, this Madagascan phrase pretty much sums up the way of life out there. It basically means everyone takes life slow and functions at a pace of life quite unrecognisable to what most people are used to back home. Lots of waiting, unforeseen challenges and changes in plans and schedules often mean that a volunteering stint in Madagascar can be a great teacher of patience. Mora mora effectively then is the instruction to relax, take life easy and enjoy life at a Malagasy pace.

Find out more about volunteer projects in Madagascar.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Tanzania: Hakuna Matata

Translated from Swahili, hakuna matata literally means there are no worries and was made popular in the song from The Lion King who referred to it as the ‘problem-free philosophy’. In English, the phrase would be similar to ‘no problem’ or ‘don’t worry, be happy’.  Although popularised by Disney, you’d be more likely to hear ‘hamna shida’ or ‘hamna tabu’ in Tanzania itself, although the more recognisable phrases is commonly used in Zanzibar and Kenya. In short, hakuna matata is a way of life that means forgetting your troubles, putting a smile on your face and enjoying life.

Find out more about volunteer projects in Tanzania.

Fiji: Fiji Time

One thing most commented on by volunteers in Fiji is there adjusting to Fiji Time! Not exactly a phrase, the idea of Fiji Time is become used to an island way of life. Everything in Fiji happens a little slower, but that’s all part of the appeal – that nothing happens in a hurry. Living on a remote archipelago, you realise this relaxed way of life is perfectly suited to the hot, southern tropics. After a while even the volunteers slow down and start to live on ‘Fiji Time’. Most of all ‘Fiji Time’ is a way of living without stress and with the realisation that things will happen eventually. 

Find out more about volunteer projects in Fiji.

Cambodia : Jlock a mooie!

A phonetic interpretation of the Cambodia way to say cheers, or rather លើកទឹកចិត្ត / leuktukchet. Similar to English, this phrase is used in social situations when toasting and can also be interpreted as wishing good health or a good life.

Find out more about volunteer projects in Cambodia.

So what have we learnt? Take it easy, appreciate what you have, enjoy and embrace life!

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