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109-year-old birthday girl says every day is a blessing

Wednesday 20 April 2016 | Published in Regional

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SAMOA – Samoan matriarch Mitavale Levaopolo Sione, born April 18, 1907, celebrated her 109th birthday this week, making her possibly the oldest person in Samoa.

An official from the Samoa Bureau of Statistics could not confirm the claim but she said it is very likely that Mitavale holds that title.

For the birthday girl though, that doesn’t matter. Every day is a blessing.

Her 55-year-old grandson Levaopolo Pauni spoke on her behalf. “The old lady had only four children with three boys and one girl,” he said. The three boys passed away and my mom, who is 78, is the only child left. Her husband Tita’e Aga also passed away a while back.

“We are on the fifth generation which is great because Mitavale gets to see her great-great grandchildren grow up and spend time with them”

Levaopolo along with other family members have done so much to look after Mitavale so that she may live peacefully.

“I have lived with the old lady as far as I can remember and I just moved away recently, I dedicated a lot of time to look after her in her old age,” he said.

“She’s a dedicated Methodist church member – she is very strong in her faith and I believe that’s one reason she has lived all these years.

“From the first time she received her pension she would tell us all not to use a single bit of it but to give it all for work of the church – even till this day every cent of her pension goes into her offerings at church.”

The birthday lady was described as a non-picky person when it comes to her meals.

“Right now she doesn’t eat taro but she loves to eat bananas, she is not picky which makes her easy to take care of because there are a few old people out there that are so demanding,” Levaopolo said.

“She’s thankful for any food given to her and she happily eats it all – as for beverages, she loves to drink koko and lemon leaf tea.”

Her grandchildren feel very blessed that Mitavale has stuck around all this time.

“We always give thanks to the lord for blessing her with so many years, we know that her strength comes from the source of all strength and that is God,” Levaopolo said,

“We continue to pray for many more years to come and so she can continue to bring joy to our family.”

As the birthday girl was preparing for her photo, she insisted that she combed her own hair and began to dance and sing songs. She said she believes that you are “only as old as you feel”.

- Samoa Observer