Cake and a smile for doctor's birthday in quarantine

A doctor studying for her Master's degree in Fiji, who returned to Samoa last week, had a quiet birthday celebration this year under strict quarantine orders at Mulifanua. 

Dr. Fa’amuamua Beauty Arasi was among Samoan residents from Fiji who arrived last Wednesday and automatically placed under quarantine. 

She was studying for her Masters of Medicine in Anaesthesia at the Fiji National University when she had to return home due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr. Arasi turned 32 years old on Monday this week. 

Instead of the usual happy birthday hugs and greetings from family and friends, it was different this year.  

Her mother, Le Niutapua'i Fipe Arasi, of Vaivase-uta, ordered a big cake for her daughter and delivered it to the gates of their temporary quarantine home in Mulifanua.

“We just wanted to let her know that we are thinking of her,” said the mother of six.

“We fully support the Government’s decision to put them in quarantine for 14 days for everyone’s safety. Now that she is in quarantine we decided to lift her spirit and those around her.”

The mother said she and her late husband don't hold celebrations for their children's birthday because they believe it places unnecessary costs on their growing family. 

But this time she knew it was a must to give something small so her daughter knows they are thinking of her. 

She added that she is sure everyone under quarantine, including her daughter, would rather be home.

But that is not until after the 14 days period given to the passengers to ensure they are free from COVID-19. 

The mother was unable to get in close contact with her daughter but were able to see her standing from a distance with a message to her family. 

“Thank you for my cake,” said a message written on a poster from Dr. Arasi to her family with a smile on her face. 

The security guard was keeping his social distance from the doctor holding the birthday cake. 

Seeing that smile and the message from her daughter, Le Niutapua'i said it was worth the long drive to Mulifanua. 

"It felt comforting to see her message and it made us laugh," said the mother. 

"We thought it was the best decision to take her cake and share it around with those being sheltered there for 14 days." 

Life in quarantine has been beneficial to Dr. Arasi who had used the opportunity to be closure to God. 

“It feels like a church retreat but with lots of rules and health monitoring,” she said. 

“The most important thing is being home. Anywhere in Samoa is home to me.”

Dr. Arasi said she does not normally celebrate her birthday and receiving the birthday cake brought some positive vibes in their temporary home under quarantine. 

The cake delivery was also a chance for her to see her mother and sister again. 

She had shared it amongst the others being quarantined in Mulifanua who are mainly returning students from Fiji.  

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