Canje woman celebrates 100th birthday


By: Andrew Carmichael 

Rachel Isabella Michael celebrated her 100th birthday on Saturday, three days after she became the county’s latest centenarian.

Despite being confined to a chair, just about one year ago, Michael was ‘up and about’ cooking, attending church, and reading without glasses.

Born on October 23, 1919, Michael has five children, ages 75, 73, 68, 62 and 53.

She has lived see her fourth generation having 19 grandchildren, 29 great-grandchildren and several great-great-grandchildren.

Born at Betsy Ground East Canje, Michael spent most of her life there.

During her days at school, Michael wanted to become a nurse. Her dreams were quashed when she became pregnant in 1943. In those days, it was difficult for an unmarried woman with children to work.

During the early 20th century, she moved to Linden, Region Ten (Upper Takutu Upper Essequibo) to work with the bauxite company as a cook and a caretaker. It was during that time, she became a mother of two.

In the early 1950s, she returned the Berbice.

Michael attributes her long life to eating right, especially using a lot of herbs. Her favourite dishes are pepper pot, Fufu and ochro soup.

Moreover, she came from a family with longevity. Her mother died at the age of 95, her brother at the age of 89 and her sister at the age of 66. Another sister was killed in a fire at age 72.

In 2017, Michael suffered a slight stroke age of 98.

Prior to that, she took care of all of her grandchildren ensuring they went to school.

Now Michael cannot do much for herself but she has a network of family and friends who are willing to support her, no matter what.