My mum, Rima Matua Moo, told me her story about her life when she was little. The story tells us how hard life was back in the olden days.
My Mum’s Life
In the olden days, we used to have big families in the Cook Islands. My mum comes from a family of 12. She has three brothers and eight sisters. They have two sets of twin sisters and they are the last lot of my mum’s siblings. They were born five years apart, one after the another.
They lived in Tauae valley opposite SDA Church in a small open pinics house about five metres square each way. The house was only for sleeping, and they shared their beds. Their toilets, bathroom, and kitchen were all separated. They were like five to ten yards apart. They used to use long drop toilets followed by a pour flush, and today, they have a flushed toilet in the house.
They spent most of their time feeding animals and in their plantation. When they were not at school, they grew a lot of taro, maniota, tarua, kumara, bananas, and vegetables like beans, tomato, corn, lettuce, cucumber, and rukau viti to eat. When the ship arrived on shore, my mum’s family always made taro, maniota, and bananas for their Uncle Nooroa that works on the boat in return for the sack of potatoes and onions alongside with a barrel of brisket.
They used to have three horses, two brown and one white. The brown horse helped them to take their sacks of coconuts, maniota, taro and bananas to places. The coconuts were for the pigs and chickens. They had to collect the coconuts five days a week from on the mountain Maunga-tea.
Since they didn’t used to have a refrigerator and freezers back then, whatever their leftovers, they would have to eat them the next day or two until they were finished. Some days their dad would go fishing, and they would have fish for dinner.
This was their lives up until they finished college and started working in government departments. Today, they have their own homes where there’s a toilet, kitchen, and bedrooms all in one house. This was the story of how my mum used to live.