Granny still going strong

Marica Tabuarua, 75, prepares dinner. Picture: SIKELI QOUNADOVU

UNDER a tavola tree by the beach near her home in Buliya she sits.

In front of her a coconut scraper and of the two sides that have been sliced one piece is pressed on the coconut scrapper’s teeth while both hands held on to it firmly ready to scrape the white flesh from the coconut.

When asked what was she cooking she replied; “Mino varau vamiti taki ga dua na ka lailai qo,” (nothing just about to make miti (raw coconut milk), for something small) she said with a smile.

When in an island like Kadavu, especially on the islands of Ono, Buliya or Dravuni, something small is really not something small it sure is a beautiful catch from out at sea.

While her grandchildren runs around often making noises and up to mischiefs, she sat silently sharing her life story and how it is always a joy to have her grandchildren around.

“Au dau marau ni dau tiko kei au ira na makubuqu,” (It is always a joy to have them around and for them to keep me company) said the 75 years old who has been a widow for the past 20 years and still living in her island home at Buliya.

Born and raised in her father’s koro ni vasu (father’s maternal village) in Muani, Tavuki on the island of Kadavu, Marica Tabuarua is the second youngest in her family of five siblings.

“Nikua au duadua saraga vei keitou na veitacini sa vo tiko.” (Today, I am the only one among my brothers and sisters alive.)

“In 1953, a chiefly presentation from my village elders, to the chiefs of Muani requesting that we return to our village.”

“Keitou a lakovi saraga mai vavanua me keitou sa lesu e Solotavui baleta na neitou itavi kina vanua. Qo me qai matai talega ni gauna meu lako kina noqu koro.” (We were requested by the vanua to return because of our traditional duties.)

About half a century ago she was betrothed and lived most of her adult life in Buliya, raising her four children before losing her husband in 1998.

Her face can appear world weary at times but usually she is active and alert, going to bed early and waking up early.

She eats the right food and takes good care of her health.

She has the most angelic smile I have ever seen and, even though her voice can appear feeble at times, she is very healthy.

“Au se lako tikoga e wai, dau laka nama, siwa, ia sa mino ga ni dau lako sara vayawa, sa dau toka voleka tuga.” (I still go out to sea and fish or collect nama (sea-grapes), but not like before, I cannot go out very far, I can only stay close by to the beach.)

“Sa veisau sara na gauna, au sa raica na kena lailai tiko mai na kakana e waitui, sa mino ni vaka e liu.” (Times have really changed, I have witnessed the decrease in seafood along our shores)

Ask how she plans to spend her Christmas she said, to spend it with her grandchildren was the best Christmas ever.

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