A hero in the eyes of many, the humble and hardworking, Ilia “Iri” Luafau Likou, was laid to rest yesterday.
Samoa Observer’s Senior Journalist, Ilia died at the Moto’otua Hospital last week. She was 36.
Her final service was held at the C.C.C.S. Vaitele-uta. It was well attended by her family, friends and colleagues.
Daughter of Ielu and Felolini Luafau, Ilia is the eldest of her siblings that include Julie, Siave, Olivera and Nomeneta.
Ilia of Vaitele Uta and Ti’avea, was raised by her aunt, Numera Likou, whom she calls “mum”.
According to her mum, Ilia was unique in so many ways. She said Ilia’s love in caring for her cannot be described.
“She is one bold woman,” said Numera.
Ilia attended Vaigaga Primary School and later Leifiifi College. She went on to work at the National Bank of Samoa and the Samoa Land Corporation before the Samoa Observer.
“When she was about to reach college level, she didn’t want to attend and so we got into a bit of a disagreement,” Numera said.
“She moved out and it wasn’t until she passed her entry level exam to attend Leifiifi College, she came back home, knowing this is what I wanted for her to be educated and committed in church.
“After school, Ilia was employed at the National Bank of Samoa and Samoa Land Corporation and then to the Samoa Observer, which is dear to her heart.
“Ilia, was a devoted Christian who was highly involved in fashioning spiritual lives of the youth and was also the Sunday school teacher,” said Numera.
According to her mother, Ilia did not shy away from challenging herself to do better.
“I remember the first time Ilia hinted that our family should make a commitment for church obligations, I flatly denied her request telling her that she cannot afford it.
“But Ilia is one determined girl, she went ahead and made the pledge to the church,” said her mother.
Reverend Muao Fagasua of C.C.C.S. Vaitele-Uta also testified and spoke fondly of Ilia who was committed to the Church.
“A very talented young woman who did everything and anything for the church that is dear to her. This one has multitasking skills.
“She is also the choreographer for the youth, Sunday schoolteacher, a member of the choir, and she was supposedly to be in the Women’s fellowship, even though she’s single but that is how devoted Ilia is to her calling in the church.”
According to the Reverend, Ilia made a commitment to sweep their church every Saturday.
“Up until now, this was Ilia’s bidding every Saturday, to make sure the Church is clean for our Sunday services,” said Reverend Muao.
Speaking on behalf of the Samoa Observer Group, Editor Mata’afa Keni Lesa paid tribute to Ilia’s hard work.
He spoke about her strong work ethic, bravery and commitment to her role. Mata’afa said the media in Samoa has lost a real journalist, someone who knew that journalism is not an 8am to 4.3opm kind of job.