AT the grand old age of 109, Naividamu centenarian Dionani Salaivanua happily chatters away with her grandchildren as they weave a mat at their Naividamu home in the province of Macuata.
"I have forgotten the month and the exact day that I was born but I have not forgotten the year," said Ms Salaivanua.
At an age where you expect people like her to be either on a wheelchair, hardly able to walk or talk or asleep in bed, Ms Salaivanua proves critics wrong.
Born in 1903 to a family of five in the village of Saolo in the province of Bua, she has maternal links to the village of Nakalou and was married to one Matia Niumalele in the village of Naividamu bearing him 11 children out of whom one had passed away.
After witnessing the funeral of her eldest son in 2011, Ms Salaivanua said that the experience was the worst curse that a parent should go through.
When asked about the reason for the longevity of her life she laughs and says, "I have more years to live, my time is not through I trust in a God who has brought me through all this years and if he wills there will be more on the way."
"Maybe part of the reason that I have lived this long is the fact that I am partly deaf, while some will say that it is a curse, I believe it has been a blessing to me," said Ms Salaivanua.
"I do not have to be preoccupied with village gossip or nonsense from here and there; I live my life carefree fending for my children and my husband not having to waste myself on petty things that do not matter."
"I continue to thank God for the long years that he has blessed me with allowing me the privilege to see our third generation even though I sometimes wish my husband was here to see our grandchildren."
Ms Salaivanua lives in Naividamu with her son Epi Matanakilagi who said that it was a privilege for him and his siblings to return their mother's love and care through the years at the present age she was in.
"My mother is always full of smiles working silently minding her own business and we love her for being there for all of us through thick and thin even when our father had passed away," Mr Matanakilagi said.
"She still weaves mats, fans and small baskets to sell through the village or even to keep in our house as art pieces for decoration," he said.
Mr Matanakilagi said that they thanked God everyday for blessing their mother with long life.
"She deserves all the years because she has been a blessing to all of us," she said.