A Corentyne woman has become Guyana’s latest centenarian. Sumitre Saju also called “Mai” of No 60 Village Corentyne, Berbice, celebrated the milestone on Saturday.
As she celebrated her special day, she thanked the Almighty for providing her with health and strength so that she could live to see her 100th birthday.
She had a simple celebration with two of her offspring and four grandchildren. The others, who reside overseas, nevertheless, sent warm messages with tons of love and affection.
“I feel alight and I can remember things,” she told the media.
“God had to do it. He blessed me, make me so I can live long. By his grace, I live so long. Meself na know how me live so long, but I believe that God guide and protect me.”
Saju was born in East Canje where she lived for several years before moving to Bloomfield on the Corentyne. She then got married to Lawrence Bharat and their union produced nine children – two of whom are now dead.
She and her family then relocated to No 60 Village where she currently resides. The centenarian, who has a good memory, recalled working in the sugar estate to provide for her children.
“Me chop grass, me burn cane, meh cut cane… When them burn the cane and deh nah get sufficient workman, dem does carry dem lady.”
In her younger days, she teamed up with her husband to plant a garden with mostly vegetables. She also fished to provide meals for their children.
“Me does do all thing before but now it is about six months now I give up because ah fall in one hammock and get hard knock at me back… but me can still light me lil stove. Me can make porridge. Me can cook something fuh eat. Me does walk round all about. Me nah sit down one place. Ah me alone ah live hay suh meh have to do things for mehself.”
To date, Saju does not have any health problems except for a slight hearing impediment.
However, someone would wash her clothing once a week. Besides, one of her sons who lives in the area would frequently check on his mother along with the kind-hearted neighbours.
On a normal day, the elderly woman would take a shower early in the morning after which she prepares her breakfast but before eating, she goes to her alter to thank the creator.
She explained that she would then prepare her lunch.
Oftentimes, her son would drop off lunch for her when she does not feel like cooking.
Meanwhile, she advised the young generation to have friends who are good to them and to live in peace, stay away from violence and at all times, live in harmony.
“They should do good and you have to keep good company and to live in love.”
Mai has 44 grandchildren; 69 great-grandchildren; 51 great-great-grandchildren and 71 great-great-great-grandchildren. (Andrew Carmichael)