Countless cultures exist around the world, each with unique languages, histories, art forms, traditions, and beliefs. Yet, despite all of these differences, some things speak to our deeper selves that exist beyond any borders. Here are phrases from each of our country locations that reveal a little about their cultures—and maybe contain messages for us all.
Ghana, meaning “Warrior King,” is a place known for its sense of community and warm national character, where visitors are always welcomed as friends. Over 100 different ethnic groups call Ghana home; CCS volunteers connect with the Ewe people in the Volta Region.
Morocco has a rich storytelling tradition in their cultural heritage. In 2001, UNESCO declared the Djamaa el-Fna Square in Marakkesh, where storytellers and other traditional artists gather, as a "masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity." Learn more about “Morocco’s Last Storytellers”
Often abandoned by their families, the children and adults who reside at care centers for people with disabilities in Lima rely solely on a limited staff to fulfill their most basic needs. Volunteers working with The CCS Support for People with Disabilities Project provide the individualized attention that children and adults need to realize their full potential.
Directly translated to English, pura vida means “pure life,” but the meaning for local people is far more powerful: depending on the context, pura vida can mean “Hello,” “Everything’s good,” or “This is living!”
Education is highly valued in Tanzania, where you’ll find children with a true love of learning; however, many children are only able to attend school until age 14. Volunteers working in The CCS Education & Literacy Project support schools where the teaching staff is highly under-resourced and often unavailable.
Perched among the clouds on the Himalayan mountainside, the rural locale of Dharamsala has a moving and mysterious quality. “Dharamsala” loosely translates to “spiritual dwelling,” a resting house for pilgrims.The misty highlands of Dharamsala are a stark contrast to the buzzing cities found elsewhere in India.
In Guatemala, there is no retirement or old age support. Most people are self-employed as small shop owners, so their families have to support them when they hit retirement age. However, in most cases that is not possible, so the elderly are often abandoned. Many religious-based organizations provide basic accommodations, health care, and nourishment for the elderly. Volunteers working in The CCS Aging with Dignity Project specifically support organizations who house abandoned elderly women in the area.
This phrase essentially means to give generously or do good deeds without seeking praise or acknowledgment. Small sheets of gold leaf are sold at sacred sites throughout Thailand. Visitors can make a donation and place the piece of leaf onto a Buddhist statue. Some intentionally seek to place their leaves on the reverse side of the object.