Anastasia celebrates special birthday, possibly the oldest living person in Samoa

Anastasia Faaopea Teo’s birthday celebration on Sunday was extraordinary — she turned 106-years-old.

Born on 12 May 1913, the woman from Vaie'e Safata, who is a survivor of both World Wars as well as the deadly 1918 influenza pandemic, is the possibly the oldest living person in Samoa.

The Samoa Observer made queries on Anastasia with the Samoa Bureau of Statistics — which keeps records of births, marriages and deaths — but was referred to the Pension Office.

The Pension Office’s records show she was born on 12 May 1913 at Vaiee to Tinisi Mataia Te’o of Tafitoala. Her father was Felise Te’o of Vaiee who was a Catechist. 

However, her family maintains she was born a year before and is 107-years-old this year. 

Relatives Tulipe Tili and Maria Losa Alesana told this newspaper that Anastasia is a woman of faith and family and cherishes her parents. And while Felise Te'o and Tinisi Te'o were her biological parents, she was adopted by Mrs. Alesana's parents, Faapale and Tiafala.

Mrs. Alesana said she always admired the work Anastasia did for her family. 

"She is never weak nor complain about any of the house chores and she is obsessed with taking care of their parents and the whole family.

"My siblings and I back then had always been joking about the fact that she might have a longer life than us but look now? She is the eldest and yet most of her younger siblings passed away before her," she said.

Anastasia is the eldest of 11 children from Mrs. Alesana's parents and  the eldest of seven from her biological parents. 

During an interview with this newspaper, Anastasia talked about the secret behind her longevity in life, and the one closest to her heart is respect for parents and elders. 

"The key to a long life on this earth is to obey and respect your mother and father. This is also according to the Bible verse," she said.

Anastasia used to work as a nanny during her young days, with Mrs. Alesana adding that her dedication to her family could also be her secret to longevity. 

"Ana is someone who always prioritises her family before her needs and I guess that was a true secret to a long life," she said.

The centenarian’s healthy diet could be another factor behind her longevity, added Mrs. Tili. 

"Having to spoon-feed her, bath her everyday and care for her is a true blessing and we are blessed to have her around," she said. 

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