93-year-old Lina's passion for life

Lina Aifetina'i Temese Tuatō, who has eight children and 20-plus grandchildren and great grandchildren, will celebrate her 93rd birthday on Monday at Moata’a.

But amid the excitement of being among her family, she worries about her cocoa plantation in Savai’i and the need to get back to attend to it, thus confirming her passion for life including cocoa harvesting.

Born 25 January 1928 and raised in Vavau Savai’i, Mrs Tuatō told the Samoa Observer in an interview on Sunday that she is grateful to God for the longevity in life, which not a lot of people are blessed with. 

"I thank the Lord for these years, I am so blessed to have made it this far,” she said. “I will be turning 93 tomorrow (Monday) and I sit back and think of how blessed I am and I feel really thankful to God for his provision for me from when I was young 'till today.”

Mrs Tuatō lives in Savai’i but travels back and forth between the two islands visiting her children as well as doing her medical check-up. 

Most of her birthdays are celebrated in Savai’i, but she said her visit to Apia coincided with her birthday which she forgot about.

"I live in Savai’i but when I came over to Apia, my children here said that we’ll celebrate my 93 birthday here because I always celebrate my birthdays in Savaii," she said. "I didn’t know it was my 93rd birthday until my children told me and I guess it was the perfect time to celebrate while I’m in Apia."

Her family will mark her birthday on Monday, though she has already told her children that she wanted the celebration to be simple and not expensive, and after a family devotion.

"So now my children have prepared a birthday celebration for me tomorrow (Monday). 

“I didn’t want them to make a fuss about it or make it a grand celebration because it costs a lot of money, yet if I ask them for money to put in my purse, they don’t give me any, and that’s the life I have now!

"I told my children to have the celebration here at home, I didn’t want them to take it to another venue or to a hotel because that’s not important, 

“I just want to celebrate it with my family and my children with a small family devotion and then we’ll celebrate."

And despite being the matriarch of the family and having her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren at her disposal, her few days in Apia has already got her thinking of her cocoa plantation in Savai’i. 

"I have my cocoa plantation and that’s what we do is harvest the cocoa once it ripens, collect in buckets and take it to the store and get some money," she said. 

She hopes to return to the big island next week after her birthday celebration.

And small chores around the house at Moata’a are a breeze for her, though she says the heat on Upolu continues to be an issue for her, and she always needs a fan.

"God has blessed me so much, at times when there’s nothing to do, I’ll go outside and do some weeding or small chores at home," Mrs Tuatō. "I’m still very strong and active and God loves me very much. 

“I do get sick sometimes but most of the time I know I’m well and able to do things around the house.

According to Mrs Tuatō, turning 93-years-old is a blessing and not something to boast about.

"Making it to 93 is nothing but a blessing; it’s not something that one should show off or be prideful about it."

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