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Samantha Mungal speaks to her aunt Ramdai Ramsaran, who celebrated her 101st birthday on April 17 at the JC Mc Donald Home for the Aged in San Fernando.

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Ramdai Ramsaran celebrated her 101st birthday on April 17, surrounded by friends and family at the JC Mc Donald Home for the Aged, where she is a resident. “I want to go a next 101!” she declared, then added: “Nah that is enough. I don’t want to get to when I can’t walk again.”

Dularie Bakaroo, 84, who sang Happy Birthday to the centenarian, said: “I know her two years now. She is very quiet, no fuss, she will walk around and she have nothing to tell anybody. You talk to her and she will talk to you. She likes to sit outside and lookout.”

Ramsaran never had children of her own but was the second of seven siblings and often took care of her younger sisters. She grew up at Penal Rock Road and at age 13 married Chanardip Ramsaran and moved to Spring Vale, Claxton Bay, where they lived until he died in 1990.

She admits that it was not love at first sight but said she learned to love Chanardip.

Recalling her arranged marriage, she said she was bathed in saffron before being taken to the wedding ceremony.

“They carried me by his house after. I would sleep with his sisters-in-law at first. I was 13 years old, all I know was my mother and my father,” Ramsaran said.

Samantha Mungal said her aunt, fondly called aunty Deed, was always an active and independent woman and a devout Hindu. She was the designated pholourie maker and enjoys simple home-cooked meals. She particularly enjoys curried chataigne.

Ramsaran, whose mother lived well into her 90s and had a great grandmother that lived to 105, said: “I feel the same way now to when I was growing up. I feel the same way, I feel the same way at 101. I am happy. Once I get some food, tea, and they carry me and bathe me I am happy.”

Secretary to the board of management of the home Joan Awardy said there have been two centenarians at the home. The other was 100-year-old Xexeila Philbert.

Awardy said the number of residents has dwindled since COVID-19. From a capacity of 40, they are now down to just 14 residents.

“We are waiting on the authorities to call us and say when they will come and give our residents the vaccine because they cannot go out for it. We were very fortunate that no one contracted the virus and we had no reason to send anybody home,” she said.