Nématou: “Le bonheur est l’obtention d’une chose recherchée” (Happiness is the achievement of something desired)

Nématou lives in Burkina Faso, in the city Ouagadougou. She is 15 years old.

Nématou sent me an amazing letter in French together with beautiful flowers she drew.

She writes:

What is happiness?
Happiness is the achievement of something desired.
It’s also to live freely and in harmony with those around us, to live in a peaceful environment, to know how to forgive the mistakes of others and to forgive each other.
To see the people who love us always by our side.
You can also be happy when you achieve something good.

Chère Nématou, dear Nématou, thanks a lot for your letter! Merci beaucoup! ❤
It really moved me with how much love you write, and I like your description of happiness so much. I also think that happiness has a lot to do with a life full of freedom, harmony, peace and having our loved ones by our side. You are also right that life is much happier when we can forgive each other when we make mistakes. I hope that you will always have this beautiful view of happiness and life, and that you achieve the good things you desire. Big hug, Karina.

Sulanis: “Cuidar la naturaleza” (To care for nature)

Sulanis is 7 years old. She lives in Colón. Colón is a city in the Matanzas Province of Cuba.
Sulanis sent me a beautiful letter in Spanish together with a lovely drawing.

Sulanis’ letter says:

For me happiness is:
To help my parents, to succeed at school, to play, to care for nature, to care for my pet, to camp and to share with my family: To build things, to draw, and to play with my friends.

Hola Sulanis, thanks a lot for your wonderful letter. Muchas gracias! 🙂
I like everything you write, it is such a beautiful description of happiness. I wish you lots of success at school, and that you will always have fun to learn new things. I also hope you enjoy many beautiful moments with your family and friends, and that you never stop to care for nature.
Big hug, Karina.

A whole map of happiness

Lately, I found something special in my inbox: a whole map of happiness from students from three different classes at the German Embassy School in Addis Abeba.
Lisa Nutz is a teacher at the German Embassy School in Addis Abeba, the capital of Ethiopia. And she liked my project so much that she made happiness a topic of her Ethics lessons at grade 2, 3 and 4. She e-mailed me the results in form of beautiful mind maps that I can now share with you.

The mind maps are in German.
Here is what Lisa’s students had to say about what makes them happy:

The students in the second grade:
What is happiness for me?
Emmanuel: “Friday because school is over and Tuesday because I can play with the neighbours”
Max: “Saturday or Sunday because then I can go to the swimming pool or to the embassy where I play or ride my bike”
Kieran: “Friday and Saturday because I was born on a Friday, and on Saturday I can do whatever I want”
Eman: “Friday and Sunday because I can watch TV and do whatever I want”
Yohana: “Wednesday to Sunday because we go swimming on Wednesday and on Sunday I go to our new house and make a ball of sand”
Simona: “Friday, when I can paint, at the moment I paint an animal in a colouring book about animals”
Shams: “Happiness is to me when I can play with my cat… And on Tuesday because it’s my birthday”
Johanna: “Tuesday because then I can play what I want”

The students in the third grade:
Amra: “I am happy when I eat”
Leila: “I am happy to play at the beach and I love travelling”
Yara: “For me happiness is to be able to love and to live”
Jakob: “I am happy when the weather is nice and when I can go to a leisure park”
Dalia: “I am happy when I receive presents and when I make other people happy”
Meimuna: “I am happy when I don’t have to go to school”
Malek: “I am happy when I can go to school”

The students in the fourth grade:
Abdullahi: “I am happy when I can go to the water amusement park”
Selam: “I am happy when I can go on a bike ride with my friends”
Sumaya: “I am happy if I can celebrate my birthday this year in Addis with my friends, and not alone in London”
Malak: “I am happy when I play volleyball with my family”
Zechariah: “I am happy when I can visit the kindergarten and when I can eat ice cream”

Dear Lisa, thank you so much for talking about happiness in your three ethic classes and sharing the results with me! I really liked to read the mind maps and all the different thoughts on happiness.
Say a big hello to all of your students! I wish them a lot of happiness, joy, and many beautiful moments with everything they like to do the most!
Lots of love, Karina.

Maraki: “Ich bin froh, dass ich 12 bin” (I am happy that I am 12 years old)

Maraki sent me a lovely letter in German. She lives in Addis Abeba, the capital city of Ethiopia. Ethiopia is a country on the Horn of Africa, and Addis Abeba is located almost at the centre of the country.
Maraki goes to school to 6th grade there.

In her letter, Maraki writes:

The most beautiful day during my holidays was my birthday. My birthday was very beautiful: there came friends and relatives who I had not seen for more than half a year. The food tasted delicious. The thing with Corona and stuff was annoying, but I did not miss my birthday. There were many presents. Afterwards, we went to town and ate at the Ettlinger Tor.
Overall, it was fun, and I am happy that I am 12 years old. The next day we went swimming because it was 36 degrees.

Hi Maraki! Thanks a lot for your letter! I am happy that you liked your birthday even though it was different because of Corona. I am sure it was great to see your friends and relatives again after such a long time. Hopefully, when you turn 13 it will be easier again and the problem about Corona will be solved or at least improved.
Swimming sounds great when it is 36 degrees! 🙂
Lots of love, Karina.

Aurela: “When I am grown up, I will make my mother happy”

Aurela lives in Albania. Albania is located in Southeast Europe. Aurela lives in the North of the country, in the area of Mirditë.
Aurela sent me a letter in Albanian that moved me a lot.

She writes:

How I imagine the most beautiful day in my life
The most beautiful day in my life would be if I would get a little sister that I would call Anna-Maria. But my mother says that we do not have the chance to get a little sister. I am not mad and I try to understand her, and I am happy that I have my brothers Noel and Aurel. A very beautiful day would be if I could do something together with my relatives, and the very best would be if I could go on a holiday only with my mother. I am very sorry for my mother because she works so much and so hard, and unfortunately she never has time for herself.
I am very sorry for her… When I am grown up, I will make her happy.

Dear Aurela, I thank you so much for sending me this moving letter. I feel so touched by what you wrote. ❤ You are a very special and caring girl, and I am sure that already today you make your mother very happy! You care so much about her and I am sure that helps her a lot to get through her working days.
I wish you that you and your Mum find time together as often as possible, and that you share a lot of love and laughter with your two brothers, even though it would be lovely to also have a sister. Me, too, I have one brother and no sister, but I am very happy to have my brother! 🙂
I send you much love and many blessings for you and your whole family! Big hug, Karina.

And I want to say a big thank you to Ursula and Paul Wohlgenannt who transferred Aurela’s letter to me together with a translation and who do a lot to support children in Albania.