Christmas joy, sadness of Taulapapa Fa’amanatu’s passing and hardship

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Mata'afa Keni Lesa

And so another Christmas has come and gone. 

Apart from some minor skirmishes reported from here and there around the country, by all accounts it appears that everyone had an enjoyable time. 

Which is great to hear.

Christmas after all is a joyful time to be with the people who matter to us. It is a time to reflect and appreciate what we have in life, little or much.

That said, we cannot ignore the suffering and pain some people went through.

The four deaths reported by the Police during Christmas and Boxing day are tragedies nobody would have wanted. But they have happened and there is nothing we can do about it except to pray for peace, comfort and strength for everyone affected. 

These are difficult times for them, a time where there will be more questions than answers.

We also pray for peace and comfort for families who have lost loved ones through sickness and other causes during the past few days. We pause to remember and honour their memories and the legacy they have left behind.

One of them is the late Taulapapa Fesolai Talailelotu Faamanatu Faletoese Nielsen, who has been a pillar of health services in Samoa for many years.

Dubbed the “Florence Nightingale of Samoa,” Taulapapa was 84 when she passed away peacefully last week. 

Amazingly she was still heavily involved in her profession as the President of the Samoa Nurses Association when she was called home by her Maker.

Taulapapa’s passing is a huge loss for Samoa. There is absolutely no doubt about that. It is certainly a sad day for the nursing profession because over the years her name has become synonymous with the profession and provision of quality health care. 

Her voice and presence brought a calming influence to difficult situations at home, church, village and at work. 

She was a brave leader who was not afraid to do what was needed; she led by example by being a hard worker. She was a tough taskmaster who demanded standards and excellence in everything she did. 

And she certainly had a presence that everybody felt, a presence that will be so dearly missed now that she is no longer around.

Today we pause, reminisce and appreciate the life of the late Taulapapa Fa’amanatu and the difference she had made to Samoa. She had helped saved thousands of lives during a career that spanned several decades. Each one of those lives and more should today whisper a prayer of thanks for her life of service, a life of giving. 

We will miss you Taualapapa but we know you have finally earned a well-deserved rest until we see you again.

As for the rest of us, while many of us are continuing to indulge in the spoils of the festive season, it is also an opportunity to reassess as we count down to the end of 2017. The truth is that it has been an eventful year for many of us.

We’ve enjoyed some highs, some lows and then there are those issues that confront us every day. Which brings us to the issue of struggles and hardship.

What we want to say is that not everything that glitters is gold. 

When we peel away the top layers of life in paradise, you will find that some issues are getting worse and they demand that we pay some serious attention to them as we set to say goodbye to another year.

We accept that many people deny the existence of poverty in Samoa. It’s understandable. 

A time like Christmas when there is an abundance of food definitely proves that wrong. But Christmas is the exception. After we splash out on Christmas, today many people return to the reality of life.

And that for some is not a pretty one. 

Yesterday, beggars and street vendors, many of the barely eight or nine years old, were back on the streets hustling. Take another look at those young faces? What do they tell us about progressive Samoa? 

Think about those young boys and girls who are on the streets every night, every day. Would they be there if they did not need to? Would their parents have been so ruthless to push them towards danger if they had a choice?

The truth is that no one wants to think about these depressing issues at a time when we have so much to celebrate. 

But we have to because we can only celebrate for so long and then we have to deal with the reality of every day challenges.

That’s what we think anyways. What about you? Share your thoughts with us!

Have a great Thursday Samoa, God bless!

© Samoa Observer 2016

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