The nation was in mourning yesterday as they bid their final farewell to a woman widely known as the “Florence Nightingale” of nursing in Samoa.
The final memorial service for the President of the Samoa Nurses Association, Taulapapa Fesolai Talailelotu Fa’amanatu Faletoese Nielsen, was held at the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa, at Moata’a.
In attendance was The Head of State, His Highness Tuimaleali’ifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, government representatives, family, friends and all those whose lives were touched by Taulapapa.
Born on 3 September 1933 to her parents the, late Rev. Kenape Tu’u’u Faletoese and Fa’api’omalo Asi Vatau, Taulapapa passed away peacefully at the Nurses Home, Moto’otua, on the 22nd of December 2017. She was 84.
Taulapapa married Fainu’ulelei Etuale Osasa Nielsen, in 1960 and is survived by him, her seven children, her 23 grand children and her four great grandchildren.
In the P.M.’s eulogy, he described her as someone who has earned much respect by all during her time as a registered nurse.
He added the respect she has earned is one of the reasons she was presented the Head of State’s Order of Service award.
“Taulapapa is a reliable and an honest person,” Tuilaepa said.
“She was always helping everywhere during her time as a registered nurse in the country. She was at Tuasivi (hospital), Salailua, Sa’anapu and other Pacific Islands countries just to serve and help those who are in need.”
He added the recognition by the government, through the Head of States Order of Service award, suits Taulapapa very well and it is well deserved.
“Because she served the country with honestly and loyalty, she deserves all the respect,” Tuilaepa said.
“She was honoured by many generations during her time as a nurse. From the government of Samoa with sorrow, we salute all the good works you have done. May your soul rest in peace.”
He reassured those attending the service that Jesus declared he already made a house for his children in heaven.
Taulapapa’s daughter, Farrah Sarita Nielsen Lesa, represented the children with her eulogy where she described her mother as someone with a strong foundation in the Lord.
“Our mother committed everything to the Lord,” she said.
“When she was called home on the 22nd December, it reminded us that it is time to prepare for the birth Jesus Christ, to renew our strength, spirit and soul.
“Mother, we will try our best to follow your footsteps so that we could continue on with all the great things you have done - to help those in need.
“What’s very important to our mother is serving people no matter how old or small, she always put people first. She’s also a strong prayer warrior in our family.”
Taulapapa’s 84-year journey was an eventful one.
She attended Papauta College in 1950 before pursuing nursing school in 1953. She was officially registered as a nurse in 1956 and began working at the Salailua Hospital from 1958 to 1959.
But it didn’t stop there.
She graduated with a midwifery degree from St. Helens, New Zealand, in 1967 and then quickly completed her Midwifery Postgraduate certificate from 1974 to 1975.
She graduated from community of nursing in 1984 all while working at Lalomanu Hospital from 1982 to 1989.
She then became the Assistant Treasurer of the Samoa Nursing Society (S.N.S.) from 1972 to 1974 before being appointed the treasurer of S.N.S. from 1974 to 1978.
In 1977 she traveled to Japan to register the S.N.S. in the World Nursing Association and then finally became the president of S.N.S. from 1978 until her passing.
Her body was laid to rest yesterday at her home in Moata’a.