Happy Mother’s Day, Samoa!
The Mafo’e family in Saina will join the rest of the nation today to honour the mothers in their family.
This comes with a unique challenge. There are a lot of moms to spoil since the family has five generations of women living.
But there is a simple solution. With the matriarch of the family, Anaseini Tupou Mafo’e, strong and well, she is more than likely to get all the attention today.
And she deserves it. Anaseini was born in 1918 and she has just celebrated her 99th birthday on 21 February 2017.
A mother of 13 children, Anaseini was married to the late Mafo’e Tupu of Saina. Her eldest daughter is 82. She is living in New Zealand. The youngest of her 13 children is 60-year-old well-known prominent Pastor, Apostle Viliamu Mafo’e.
Born in Tonga, she was brought to Samoa at the age of five, after her father Hagafili Tupou passed away.
“My mother is Samoan and so our grandfather from Saoluafata came to Tonga to bring us here and I’ve lived here ever since 1922.”
Anaseini, who has a sharp memory, spoke of when their mother refused to live in Saoluafata.
“I don't recall why we left but back then there were no cars, so when my mother was upset about something, she packed our bags and we walked all the way from Saoluafata to Saina."
“Along the way, we were hungry, thirsty and tired but we had no choice, mum was determined that we were not going back to Saoluafata."
“We reached Saina at night and the first thing we did with my sister and two brothers, was ate all the food we could find,” she said giggling.
Anaseini said this was where she met the love of her life, Mafo’e Tupu who was her neighbour.
She paused for a while and then said Mafo’e was a fisherman.
“Mafo’e was loving and caring father who always put his family over everything. I miss him till this day,” she said.
The elderly woman told the Samoa Observer that she’s never held a formal job.
“I’m a housewife, I tend to the daily chores, cook the food and look after my children. It’s really an easy daily routine and I loved every bit of it.... being a mother and taking care of my children keeps me going.”
The secret to the Anaseini’s longevity?
Anaseini is a prayer warrior and she prays more than 10 times a day and eats fish all the time.
“I pray for my son who is a pastor, my children, grand children and all of my children.... its all I do, pray and eat during the day.”
At church today, Anaseini told the Samoa Observer that she has been given the honoour of speaking on behalf of all the mothers at church.
“I’m going to say.... the Masta is back and I will be back next year and the year after next...” she laughed out loud, clapping her hands.
Bossy and independent as ever, Anaseini says while it takes a long time to walk to the bathroom, kitchen or to her bed, she does not need anyone’s help.
“I tell my children, I can do it, I will not be carried by anyone, I am able to do what I want, when I want on my own."
“Even my money that my kids send from off island, I know where each penny goes. I demand to see the bank statements and receipts, I may be old but I am not blind,” she said laughing along with her granddaughter Losaline De Bakker-Mafo’e who lives with her.
Losaline says the old lady is very bossy and refuses to take any medication.
“When she has a headache, or a stomach ache, she’ll endure the pain just because she refuses to take the medicine.”
Up to date with what’s happening in Samoa, Anaseini said she was heartbroken to hear news about domestic violence – and a recent case where a mother was killed by her husband.
“She left behind, her children... her husband is incarcerated and who will watch their seven children?” she said.
“I have been praying for the children of this family, I know they miss their parents.
“I’m sure their aunties and uncles will take care of them, but it’s not the same when the parents are not around... I know that for a fact.”
The elderly mother urges the men to deviate from assaulting their wives, physically and verbally.
“Men should spoil, love pamper, and take care of their wives whom are dear and loved by their families.
“This is what you signed up for when you got married but problems should not be an excuse for you to show how manly you ware by assaulting your wife.
“You’re not a man. Real men don’t strike women,” she said.
Her last words for Mother’s Day?
“I’ve lived my life to the fullest and being alive for 99 years on this earth is an abundant blessing that me and my family are grateful for.... Happy Mother’s day to all mothers of Samoa.”