Her mother was a Gardener of flowers. Her brother, Enesi, was a Gardener of souls. Her sister, Tui, was a Gardener of pupils. Lika was a Gardener of human potential. To know Lika, one must know her as a wonderful flower from her late mother’s garden; a place that shaped and prepared her into who she was to become.
An ancient wisdom from our open ocean voyager ancestors is: To be a voyager, one must first plant a garden. Metaphorically, it means by cultivating a garden, one learns the tofa (wisdoms) of life. The four prominent wisdoms are the tofa fa’amaulalo (wisdoms of humility), tofa fa’aaloalo (wisdoms of respect), tofa alofa (wisdoms of love) and tofa fa’amagalo (wisdoms of forgiveness). Without the foundations of tofa, knowledge outruns wisdom, service is a meaningless gesture, and leadership becomes self-serving.
George Bernard Shaw, an avid gardener who was awarded the 1925 Nobel Prize winner for literature, took planting a garden deeper. “I have found, after a good deal of consideration, that the best place to seek God is in a garden…”
Fa’asau, is one of American Samoa’s premier gardens with tropical flowers and is a propagation site for tofa (traditional wisdoms) that has nourished generations of servants to God, the Church, Leone village, and Government of American Samoa. It is the pride of the Aiga and a living manifestation of our loved ones of days gone by whose spirits continue to nourish the lives of our aiga. As the garden flourishes and thrives, so goes the aiga.
Makerita’s journey reminds us of the profound gifts of her mother Vea’s garden and its deeper purpose that taught the values of love, caring, service and healing in all that we do. These are the values of our aiga, taught by our elders.
Sekio, the youngest of the Enesi siblings, is the loving personification of his late mother, Ve’a Enesi. He is a gentle soul who, since childhood, cultivated the family flower garden with his mother. During a recent conversation with a cousin, he shared these thoughts.
“I am sad, but I also know life must move on. I try not to think too much about my brother, Enesi, passing away and then suddenly, my sister Lika. I focus on my nieces and my sister, Ilo. I take a walk and get busy around the garden to take my mind off being sad. I pray that my nieces grow to be successful and love the family, like what my mother taught us. Always fealofani and alofa.
“Memories of me with my sisters and brother, I think about to cheer me up. I think about my mother, my mafutaga with my sisters, nieces, and my aiga. When I think of Enesi, I miss him and his visits. He knew a lot about family history and gave us advice to make peace and forgive. My mother told us that, “ia matou fealofani, don’t steal, don’t faikakala, study hard and do your homework, toaga i le aoga, be honest, have love.”
Fa’ailoilo, Lika’s surviving sister, shared that Lika was very much like their father, Enesi Perekina Enesi, Sr. who she described as a humble, quiet, calm and gentle person. He was devout and encouraged education and caring for our aiga. Ilo shared that, “… Lika’s entire life was work and family. She was a private and unassuming person. However, she was very professional in her work with high personal standards, expectations and caring of those she worked with.”
Fa’ailoilo’s youngest daughter and Lika’s niece Su’e expressed it best. “Aunty Lika was very stubborn. She put others first before herself. Workaholic. Even when she retired and at home, rather than relaxing, she called Grace up at work and to follow up on how her staff is doing.”
Ilo continued; “Lika’s focus was her nieces. She wanted my daughters to grow up and love each other, finish school, and continue on with what our mother, their grandmother, instilled in us—respect, do the right thing, help others, fear the Lord, toaga i le lotu and osi aiga.”
“Lika was a meticulous and organized person. Lika knew her time left on earth was near. She wrote everything down. Lika laid out (in writing) what each of the girls, their duties, and responsibilities, need to be. In particular, caring for Sekio and I. She was ready.”
Ilo’s sharing concluded with last moments, special moments, with her sister. “Lika’s last words to me was tell the girls to take care of Sekio. This is what our mother, before she passed away, said to me, my sisters and brother Enesi, “Take care of Sekio…”
In sad reminiscence, Ilo’s final comments were, “I miss ironing her clothes as she wants everything to be perfect when she gets ready to go to work, church, events, meetings.”
Three wonderful bouquets now grace the resting garden of Fa’asau; Tui, Enesi and now Makerita. Three salient examples of unconditional love and devotion to each other as siblings and to the aiga. Indeed, flowers of the garden. All are blessings of light to all who have known, loved, respected, and honored them.
The great novelist Victor Hugo, is quoted as saying, “The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved.” The winds of grace filled the sails of Makerita Enesi’s vessel on April 13th, 2022. She passed with supreme happiness and the conviction that she was so loved by God, her siblings, aiga and dearest friends.
You are invited to bring a potted flower to plant in the Garden of Fa’asau in Makerita’s memory. Fa’afetai.
Source: Funeral Program for Makerita Enesi