Monday, October 22, 2007


A proverb says "God could not be everywhere and therefore he made mothers".
Just ask Flying Fijians coach Ilivasi Tabua who has been his pillar of strength and without hesitation he say it is his mother.
At age 75, Paulina Tamanivalu has been the rock foundation for the life of Ilivasi Tabua better known as Ilie'.
She has been his tower of strength, when all was just not going well for the national 15s coach and he draws his strength from the woman he simply calls mum.
She is the one who cared and brought up a rugby player and now coach whom the world of rugby baptised the Human skewer' in his playing days.
Meeting this grand woman fills one with warmth as her smiles lit up the room as she introduced herself as Bubu Pau.
Her smile was more than welcoming to the village of Naivicula, in the Tikina of Naloto, as they prepared to honour her son who had done Fiji proud during the recent Rugby World Cup in France.
And, of course, there was no other who could have been more proud of Ilivasi than his mother.
Bubu Pau, as she is commonly referred to by the children of the village of Naivicula, hails from Dakuinuku Village, in the district of Sawakasa, Tailevu.
Her secret to bringing up a son who went on to become a Wallaby, a Flying Fijian and the country's most successful national coach is simple lotu. "This was one thing that I made sure all my children were brought up with, they had to be strong with the faith in the Lord," Bubu Pau said.
"Ever since the day he was appointed as the coach of the Fiji team, I have been telling him that all eyes in Fiji are watching him and although it might be a pressure on him, I always tell him to leave all his worries with the Lord," she said.
"I was so happy and proud when he was named earlier this year to be the coach for the Fiji team.
"As a mother, I knew I had a very important role to play in making sure that he gets all the support he has from his family, especially when most of our family members are now overseas.
"For me, as a mother, I always talk to him and he listens to all that I tell him. At times at our Kinoya home I will see him staring outside and I know that there are things on his mind that he needs to share.
"So I always ask him and try to encourage him, I always tell him that when it is hard to move forward just pray and surely He will answer," she said.
She said there were times when Ilie would be naughty to his mother and she would scold him, but he would always reply with a smile.
Bubu Pau admits things were not at all that rosy a few months after her son's new appointment.
"There were a lot of things being said over the air and in the newspapers about him," she said
"It affected him and yes, I was downhearted about these things, but as a mother I knew I was the only one who could keep him positive and focused on the job at hand. When all this happened I called him and told him not to be discouraged by the stories that were going around about him.
"I knew that some did not agree with his appointment and there were rumours that sure did hurt the family.
"I told him, that Jesus the son of God, was ridiculed, spat upon and sworn at, but at the end he triumphed at Calvary," Bubu Pau said.
She said during the World Cup she would receive calls from her children, all talking about how the game went and telling her how proud they were of their brother.
"I made sure I watched all the games that Fiji played and, yes, I shouted, clapped and prayed whenever the Flying Fijians took the field," she said.
Bubu Pau said she would constantly say isa Turaga, every time the team was put under pressure.
"I know that everyone else in Fiji does the same," she said.
Bubu Pau said whenever Ilie was at home he loved to eat Fijian dishes.
"He just loves his kokoda, fish in miti and boiled vegetables," she said.
"Whenever he is in the village, he will not miss prawns and lalabe (wild ferns).
"This is a delicacy that the people in the greater in Wainibuka area are known for."
Bubu Pau acknowledged the support that was given to Ilie and his men during the Rugby World campaign.
"I thank Fiji for rallying behind Ilie and his boys during their trip to France.
"I believe it is through the support that we had all given them that made this year's World Cup a memorable one," she said.
Bubu Pau hopes to be part of a bigger and better celebrations come the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.
"I would love to see Ilie again leading our team to the next World Cup and I pray that I will still be around to see cheer him on," she said.

Adapted from Fijitimes Online