88-year-old widow with a nimble pair of hands

Just one month away from Christmas, festive decorations in homes start increasing. Out come boxes full of Christmas lights, cribs are brought out and set up, the Christmas Tree is lit.

For Consiglia Debono, time is precious. She is always on the go, and her home is evidence of her activity every season.

“I never gave up… it’s now my daughter’s turn… one of them is just like me, and the other one works on other things… all my children are like that.”

Consiglia adapts her nimble hands to practically anything, and she leads by example. Her home is a living example of her diligence and enthusiasm.

Consiglia has always worked; she doesn’t know the meaning of stopping or resting. At the age of 88 and widowed, she makes sure nothing goes to waste. What others discard is material for yet another project.

Consiglia welcomed me to her home as she starts decorating for Christmas. She does all the decorating on her own, although her children are always telling her to be careful.

Consiglia’s age doesn’t worry her. She was widowed 14 years ago. She and her husband were very close and always did everything together. This includes the home that they built together.

Joseph Debono was a builder, and he and Consiglia brought up a family of seven. They have 14 grandchildren and even great-grandchildren, and needless to say, she dotes on them. They are already telling her what they want her to prepare for them for Christmas. This includes the great-grandchildren!

Sewing, food and sweets, art and many other talents. Her home is choc-a-bloc. She is a living example of recycling. She tells me wastage is bad, whilst showing me that almost everything can be re-used.

“These are made with metal coat-hangers. I never discard them. I use them and have even taught others how to use them instead of throwing them away.”

Her talent has grown with her. From a very young age, she learnt from her mother and even attended art school.

She prepared everything for her children. From baptismal dresses to a wedding dress. And sweets and food are her speciality.

She also prepared items for a museum in Austria, as she had been contacted soon after it opened and asked to provide items associated with Malta.

“I prepared a doily for them with the Maltese Cross and with the sun; both items we have in Malta,”

I left Consiglia busy with setting up the Christmas decorations. She even has cribs in small bottles, discarded by others but given a new life in her hands.

“These bulbs which no longer work, these perfume bottles… they are now cribs.”

The smile on Consiglia’s face is witness to her determination that one should never give up on life.