Liliani has met many people in and out of her ministry and every time she tells them where she comes from, she is always bombarded with more questions like: Where is Tonga? Is it in Africa? Who is the president of Tonga? Oh, you do not have a president only a prime minister? And you have a king? What is the money (currency) in Tonga? And so on and on and on. Later, she realized that some people just want to make a small talk as a sign of respect and they do not really mind what your answer is. So one time, she told someone that she is from Hawaii and he seem satisfied with her answer and no more questions followed.
|Liliani Maafu, 27th June 2018 at CLM House|
|Liliani (in red shirt) with other Columban Missionaries|
Back in Tonga, tattoos are quite common among men. It is a cultural thing. But tattoos are not common among girls and women. When Liliani was in high school, she met a girl from another island who was in the same class as her. They became very close and as a sign of their new found friendship they vowed to have their name tattooed on each other. Young and foolish Liliani was then, the promise was just a half hearted one for her. But when classes ended and just before going back home, her friend tagged her along to see a tattoo artist and to have the tattoo they promised. Her friend went under the needle first and she had Liliani tattooed on her back. Even at that very moment, Liliani did not know if she really wanted to have a tattoo, let alone her friend's name. Her friend kept asking where to have her tattoo. Again, Liliani did not know where to ink her friend's name in her body. Liliani want it hidden since her father will not approve of any tattoo, at the same time she did not want to expose her body to a total stranger who will do the tattoo. So she decided to have Melania Waqa on her right wrist. This tattoo is a piece of art and symbol of friendship.
After the death of his father few years back, four of her brothers had their father's name Sikifi tattooed on their body. Liliani had hers only last year when she was missing her family, most of all her father. Putting her father's name on her wrist was to honor him and to let him know that gone he may be but never forgotten. This tattoo is a permanent memorial, a remembrance tattoo to an unbreakable bond of a daughter to her father, a daughter's love and reverence big enough to merit an art in her body.