Being a mother is discovering strengths you didn’t know you had.
Tali Maluelue of Levi Saleimoa believes this; reflecting on everything she has gone through.
She’s a 52 year old mother to six children, married to a man from Lotofaga.
“In my own experience as a mother in my own family, a mother is someone who ties the family together.”
“When something goes wrong, a mother is there to make it right.”
“I talk to my children about what can go wrong, I scold them from morning until night time if I see they are not doing what needs to be done.”
“As a mother I encourage them about the good things in life.”
“When you’re a mother, you will know what to do, because you feel it in your heart.”
“All your decisions on motherhood, they are entirely up to you.”
“Sometimes people might say it’s the village’s responsibility to tell mothers what to do but at the end of the day, it’s your choice not the village’s.”
“And I think that’s why other mothers don’t like it when other people advise them on how to raise their children because they already know; they know their role.”
Tali says all her children are overseas now and she just has one daughter left here, staying with her and the father of the family.
But being a mother is not just about playing a role in the family.
“You know being a mother in this village is something that has transformed my life,” she told Village Voice.
“Before I had a family of my own, all I had ever known was to do chores at home because that’s how it is for every Samoan family right?”
“But when I became a married woman (nofotane) and a mother in this village, it built me into someone much more than who I was before.”
“I’ve learned how to do things that I’ve never done before; such as weaving fine mats.”
“This is something I’ve never done before and now I’m a part of the committee of this village that are doing this and providing these for people.”
“There are close to 200 mothers and only 20 mothers are doing this; emphasizing this skill because it’s important and useful to the communities of Samoa.”
“These are the usual activities of rural villages, initiating programmes like this not only to make use of hidden skills that mothers have but also for the betterment of a village.”
“With weaving, the money we can earn is somewhere around 2,000 tala sometimes 3,000 tala - it all depends on the quality and the decoration of fine mats.”
“So being a mother is much more than just a being a mother, sometimes being a mother opens up your eyes to big things in life that you’ve never seen before.”