Despite the threat of COVID-19, Point Fortin centurion De Costa Mc Donald made it his business to go out and vote on Monday.
The spritely 102-year-old from Canaan Road, Mahaica, Point Fortin, said he felt it was important to exercise his franchise, noting that at his advanced age he was perplexed to see the way society was deteriorating.
Speaking to Guardian Media as he celebrated his milestone, Mc Donald shared some of the secrets to longevity.
He said one must strive to remain humble, live simple and use medicinal herbs.
Every night before he goes to sleep, Mc Donald eats garlic and on mornings, he enjoys tomato or melongene choka filled with lots of garlic. He said he also cuts up a single clove and a grain of lecithin which he takes every night.
“I like a vegetarian diet. I eat some fish and in the morning, I must have my garlic and choka. At lunch, I eat a little sweet potato, plantain and rice. No meat. A little fish maybe.”
Smiling proudly, Mc Donald said he never had any diseases or complications with his health except for cataract in his right eye which was “scraped out.”
“I have a special way of living and that is to live as simple as possible as Jesus lived. We must live with simplicity and humility. I eat a lot of fruits,” he said.
He noted that incorporating natural herbs into your lifestyle was recommended.
“I take garlic the last thing at night. I take one clove and chop it finely and swallow it. One lecithin as well which thins the blood. These two remedies help with circulation. I’ve never had any disease. I never had anything. Some time ago, my niece, Anette went to the health centre and then after he checked my record he said my kidneys were good.”
However, the eloquent Mc Donald said “Old age is taking its toll. I can’t move as fast as before.”He said every morning he wakes up early and fills his lungs with clean air.
“I go and drink some water and go in the yard and clean the grass. I used to be sweeping and cleaning all the time. Now before I go to bed I always sweeping the floor. I don’t like nasty places. My maid does the balance of work but it is my habit to do the things I do,” he said.
While Mc Donald’s body ages, his mind remains sharp. He was able to recollect aspects of his early life.
Born in Grenada, Mc Donald said he went to an Anglican school in his hometown and read a lot of books before becoming qualified in pharmacy. He said Trinidad presented opportunities and in 1941 at the age of 23, he migrated to Trinidad. His wife was also from Grenada and when he was 30 years old they got married.
“I started working with the oilfield in the refinery. I worked with them for 1941 to 1967. Then I left and went to Canada in 1969. I remained there for 20 years and 6 months where I worked as a machine operator. I liked that job,” Mc Donald said.
He said he started collecting pension in 1967.
“I continued to work part-time with the company. I came back to Trinidad in 1989 and my wife died in 1999 at the age of 82. Since then I have been alone. I never remarried,” he added.
Mc Donald said he worships as a Seventh Day Adventist and was happy with his life. He said he never had any children of his own as his wife underwent an operation early on and this affected her ability to bear children. However, he said they adopted a niece and had a wonderful life together.
Mc Donald said he never expected crime to get so bad in T&T, noting that everything in T&T went downhill after the end of British rule.
During colonialism, people who committed a crime were dealt with swiftly and this was a deterrent to crime.
“Crime is phenomenal now. I never thought Trinidad will be this way. No matter what, under British rule, crime was not so much. You hardly heard of people getting killed or hanged. When you do something, you get punished. Now we have lawyers and cases and crime escalated,” Mc Donald said.