Every now and then,
I get the message from my relatives or other villagers about an old person from our village who has left this life.
And despite having no communication with the person or connection in recent years, I feel shattered and sad because that person represents the village that I love and hold dear to my heart.
She is village to me,
And my memories of the village revolve strongly around the old people that gave it meaning and soul and noise and community.
But most of all, they gave my village something immeasurable and powerful,
Mana in that they were the strength, the constant and the history, which no young person can replicate.
Today is a sad day for my village,
We cannot retain her/his/their immense knowledge of the place we call home.,
Nor their understanding of our tuaoi and where boundaries lie,
They take with them their wisdom and their humility, the very things that we struggle to attain early on in life.
For this particular woman, she is the few of my grandmother's generation, who were my constant as a child.
She was small in stature but a giant with her generosity, caring smile and heart.
She carried a basket of hibiscus in the morning, to make floral arrangements for the house.
She was sincere and adoring of the children (me and Lagipoiva to be exact because we used to invite ourselves to her home when their meals were served...silly children!).
She let us pick mangoes and apu (the ones that your ofu gets ruined when the sap gets on it) from the tree by her house.
She used to visit my grandmother and sit for hours at the old fale talking, praying, singing and listening to 2AP.
She was a member of the aualuma, the church, her own immediate family.
But more so, she was the village to me,
Ia Manuia lau malaga i le lagi
Faaopeaga I'amua Ah Ching
|Image copied from her granddaughter Lagituli Tuupo Levaula's Facebook page. Thanks Lagi (:|