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Centenarian shares secret to long life
Family members from England, Canada and New York came to Trinidad to join their loved ones as they celebrated Onecimus Caprietta’s 100th birthday at the Arima Tennis Court on February 18.
For Michael Caprietta, one of Onecimus Caprietta’s sons, it was a day of immense joy as his mom’s birthday party was an occasion for the family to reunite.
The soft-spoken centenarian, who is still very lucid, said she was happy to be alive and thanked God for giving her life for 100 years. But most of all, she said she was happy to be with her ten children.
Caprietta said “I grew up my ten children, from my only husband who departed a few years ago, in the teaching of God and good moral values, always instilling in them the magic words—please, excuse me and thank you.”
With a broad smile on her face, Caprietta said she was born in Aripo and worked in the estate with her husband, who was loving to her.
Caprietta attributed her long life to the types of food that she ate. Her favourite meal was wild meat—lappe, agouti, deer, tattoo with ground provision—yam, fig, tannia (which she likes), cassava and dasheen (which was not her favourite, but which she ate because it was good for her).
“We ate food that had no chemicals and drank rain water. It was only locally grown foods and local fresh fruits and drinks, not too much soft drinks.”
In addition to wholesome food, a smiling Caprietta said “kindness, sharing, loving, respect and prayers are important for a healthy and long life.”
Caprietta, troubled by the prevalence of crime in the country, weighed in on the issue:
“In my time there was hardly any crime, you know why? Because parents and children were always occupied in doing something that will benefit them, eg working the land, cleaning around the house, boys pitching marbles, playing cricket or football, or riding their bicycle, while the girls will learn to cook, wash clothes, learn to sew, so their time was always occupied in doing something, there was no time for idleness that will lead to fights. Yes, children fought but became friends soon after, no guns or weapons were used. As girls and even adults we played rounders.” She said rounders was her favourite game.
“Life was much better in my days, no young lady was raped, we walked the streets without being molested, in fact our young men respected and protected us.
“Living was peaceful and interesting, when you hear about crime, it was like a shock which is remembered for a long period. Today, crime is an everyday thing.”
She put the blame on parents who never take time off to be with their children. Caprietta advised parents to train their children in the way they would like them to grow, “don’t allow others to do it for you.”
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