Teaching a new generation
Every time our parents tell us off we tend to be quick to anger and slow to understand; we fail to see how essential the embedded lessons are within those words.
As for Foketi Brown from the village of Matautu, Lefaga, that is how she has taught her children to be the people they are today.
At age 88, she has passed down as much knowledge as she can to her children.
“For me, I get very angry with the laziness of my children,” Foketi told the Village Voice at her small stall.
“I have been doing this work for a very long time. My mother is the one who passed down these lessons to me and I made sure I learnt as much as I can.
“When my mother passed away; I got married and had so many children and that’s when I started making all these things I am selling right now.
“I make siapo, feather items, plastic flowers, tiara’s, and woven bags. I could easily do whatever sort of handicraft you can name.”
Selling her small handicrafts at the Government building parking lot, Foketi says that this was her life in a nutshell.
“I have been doing this with my husband for as long as I can remember,” she said.
“This has been a huge source of income for my family and we have been doing well with it. The children were brought up with the money we made from here and the family was well looked after due to it.
“When we sold the goods we had enough for the transport fares for the children’s schooling, cultural activities (fa’alavelave) and that’s all. Every day I would pray to God for strength to continue doing this type of work.”
Now that the majority of her children have graduated, Foketi sees how much they have learnt from her.
“When they were done with school I continued to do this sort of work and I taught them and saw that they were interested. They saw how good this was for the family and helped me at times.”
And with those lessons, her children now have a backup plan for life.
“Right now, all my children have the skills to make these sorts of handicrafts,” Foketi said.
“It has helped a few of them to take care of their own families. The only thing I tell my children is that there are only problems in the family if you live a weak life.
With her only problem being her advanced age, Foketi still instills life lessons for her loved ones.
“To be honest with you, there are a few problems I am facing right now,” she said.
“My hands are getting too weak when I use them right now. I am still trying to be strong for my children because if I don’t continue to teach them or tell them off, then they will just turn lazy.
“If you don’t try and be strong and do things with joy in your heart then you won’t get anywhere. No matter what you go through, pray for peace and everything will be all right.”