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Arianne Clément
"How to Live to 100" 

The COVID-19 pandemic that gripped the world, in addition to ending the lives of millions of people and causing major socioeconomic upheavals, brought to light the deplorable living conditions of seniors in many countries around the globe. Visits were banned in residences and care centres for the elderly, the elderly died in complete solitude and thousands of families had to go through their grief without being able to gather and mourn their parents or grandparents. This crisis reminded us that aging is terrible. The weakening of family ties, the deterioration of social connections and the precariousness of front-line workers have given rise to a model of geriatric care based on marginalization, a model which has revealed its flaws and forces us to rethink old age.

The Valoise Arianne Clément has been investigating aging and its challenges for several years, through a series of photographic reports. Which aspects of aging are cultural and which are universal? How do societies, governmental structures, families and the elderly themselves handle aging abroad? What makes some people age gracefully while others decline? Are there places on Earth where aging is easier? What are the different perceptions of aging according to various cultures?

It is with these questions in mind that she has traveled the world in search of different approaches with regards to aging. In recent years she has visited the "blue zones", places renowned for the vitality and well-being of their elderly. The blue zones, designated in 2005 by National Geographic magazine, are the five regions of the world with the highest concentrations of very old people and where life expectancy is exceptionally high because of the lifestyle practiced by their inhabitants.

Counted amongst the blue zones are the province of Ogliastra, on the island of Sardinia in Italy; the Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica; the California Seventh-day Adventist community in Loma Linda and surroundings, United States; the Okinawa archipelago in Japan and the island if Ikaria in Greece. Since 2005, the increased media diffusion of the phenomenon has popularized these "secrets" of longevity:

• a simple existence relatively untouched by modern pressures;

• a healthy, unprocessed and predominantly vegetable diet, often from subsistence farming;

• a very attentive social or family net;

• daily physical activity;

• time spent each day enjoying existence and cultivating one’s mental, spiritual or religious life.

Arianne Clément went to meet the elders of the blue zones, sharing their daily lives, sometimes living under their roof, documenting their lifestyle through photography. She understood how to bond with many of these elderly people and gather testimonies through which they may share their wisdom, experiences, joys, worries and the challenges they face with us. These stories help to correct pervasive prejudices about aging and to demystify certain beliefs surrounding longevity. This photographic journey, coupled with an anthology of life stories, exposes the richness and complexity of the human experience.

The approach of the inevitable is never easy, but the fact remains that there is beauty in aging, and that serenity in the face of death is something that must be cultivated. This is what the inhabitants of the blue zones teach us. Their teaching is all the more precious since the growing impact of globalized modernity, the changing lifestyle habits of the young generations and the disturbances linked to tourism and the media reveal the fragility of the blue zones and the exceptional character of these elders in human history.

This report, which parallels different lifestyles and varied beliefs around the world, is part of a militant approach to promoting seniors. It is a way of paying tribute to the elderly for the knowledge and values ​​they have transmitted to us and for the social and political struggles they have fought. With nuance and without complacency, Arianne Clément wishes to highlight the importance of the contribution of elders to our modern society and to highlight the richness of their knowledge.

In the context of a pandemic, which exposes the vulnerability of seniors more than ever, the experience of the blue zones invites us to rethink our way of doing things, to favour inclusion rather than marginalization, to draw inspiration from the experience of our ancestors, to cultivate strong ties, both at the family and community level and to give ourselves the collective means to allow the elderly to pursue their lives with dignity.

About the artist

After obtaining a master’s degree with honours in photography from University of the Arts London, Arianne Clément travelled far and wide to find inspiration, often getting involved in humanitarian projects with the marginalized, her preferred subjects.

 She now devotes her work principally to portraying the elderly. Her celebrated portraits of seniors have been exhibited nationally and internationally, and won her several prizes, grants and honours.

What these distinctions reflect first and foremost are the sensitivity and boldness of her work and the unique connection she manages to create with her models. 

​Her pictures and stories were published in major newspapers and prestigious journals all around the world and her work was met with enthusiastic response online, creating a buzz in social media.


1-Japon. Hamako Kikuyama DSC_2712

Hamako Kikuyama, 92 years old,
Onna-son village, Okinawa prefecture, Japan

I am very social and busy. I have many friends with whom I do numerous activities. We do aerobic exercise, golf parties, painting, cooking, everything. I am also a farmer and I sell my products at market. When I was younger, I was employed by the Americans, in the tourism sector; I sold cruise tickets. Since I retired at 70, I have been bored so I decided to throw myself into agriculture to keep myself busy and meet people.

When I was a young woman, it was war here. The American soldiers requisitioned our house, the beach was full of warships, and there were antipersonnel mines everywhere. My family and I had a hideout in the mountains, but we had nothing to eat. My elder sister went to the villages to steal sweet potatoes from the gardens. That’s how we survived. It’s difficult for me to approach this subject since that period was so painful, but I have no resentment towards the Americans; after all, they gave me a job. All that to say, I am very worried about the conflict between Japan and North Korea. We must avoid another war at all costs.

There is a lot of juvenile delinquency on our island, and that worries me for my grandchildren. Every time I see the sun rise, I pray for them; even if I am not religious, I pray.

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Ryozen Tomoyose, 89 years old,
Onna-son village, Okinawa prefecture, Japan

My life began abruptly. When I was 13 years old my two elder brothers were killed during the war, and that was a tragedy for my parents. As I was the only survivor amongst my siblings, I wanted to ease their pain by behaving in an exemplary fashion. I abstained from smoking and alcohol, and I tried to take care of them, to work hard and to make them proud. I have no resentments towards the Americans who killed my brothers. On the contrary, I consider the American soldiers to have been victims of the war, just as we were. I forgave them a long time ago. In fact, I have many American friends. If I could address myself directly to [then-president] Donald Trump, I would beg him to avoid war at all costs. As the most powerful man on the planet, he has that power. 

Each first and 15th day of the month I pray to my ancestors. I offer them jasmine tea and food on a small altar that stands in the living room. This is the current practice amongst the elderly of Okinawa, a practice that comes from shamanist traditions.

I think that the secret to longevity is to be active. I walk thirty minutes each day, good weather or bad, and I take care of my garden. I also grow sugar cane, which is physically demanding, and I exercise at the community center, as well as push-ups and stretches on the beach. I generally sleep 10 hours per night. Each morning, I take a coffee with friends. Friendship is fundamental, one must maintain harmonious relationships with the greatest number of people possible. Luckily, the elderlies are respected in Okinawa; for example, since we have village feasts, we have the honor of eating first. It is a way of showing respect that I like very much.

My wife has the tendency to seek out quarrels. In the face of her stormy character, I have no choice but to shut my mouth and endure her recriminations. I recognize that, at one time, I didn’t appreciate her enough. I learned, at my cost, that one must never criticize the food cooked by one’s wife. Today I enthusiastically complement each culinary effort, even the ineptest.

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Umeto Yamashiro, 99 years old,

Yomitan village, Okinawa prefecture, Japan

When I was younger, I had a humble business; I sold odds and ends. It was enough to survive, but barely. When I was 80 years old, I decided to realize my dream of becoming a dancer. I approached a traditional Okinawan dance troupe that performs for tourists and, as I was truly determined to learn, they gave me a chance. Now I am the star dancer!

I am in perfect health; I have no illnesses and I take no medication. At my last medical exam my doctor was jealous of my impeccable health. The secret? Laugh, laugh, and laugh! Don’t let anger, hatred or worry live within you. Try to love and accept all others. Be active, go out, party, dance, play music and embrace life!

The death of my husband was a liberation. My marriage was not always easy, but, at the end of his life, my husband did thank me and tell me that I was a magnificent wife. Thus, we parted with our hearts at peace.

That being said, I love being single! I flirt constantly with men, the young as well as the old. I love to flirt, to seduce, to please, to laugh, and to tease the tourists with my alluring conduct. I never go out without applying my makeup and lipstick. I even bought a luxury perfume that cost 130 US$! I smell marvelously good!

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Hiroko Touyama, 98 years old,

Nakijin-son village, Okinawa prefecture, Japan

I had two professions: cultivator of silkworms and teacher of calligraphy. One must meditate for a long time before choosing a career, and once it is chosen, one must persevere relentlessly. Today I still practice calligraphy for pleasure, I cultivate flowers, I write each day in a journal, and I go often to the camp for the elderly. I have a good temperament, I am always in good humor, peaceful and co-operative. 

The war was infinitely traumatizing for me and, if I could address myself to the politicians, I would say this: Please avoid war at all costs. Find solutions, compromises, retreat before the enemy but never again war.

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Karyou Akayama, 97 years old,

Urasoe city, Okinawa prefecture, Japan

I had a good career as a calligrapher, and I am still exhibited in important museums. There is a Chinese poem that explains that despite seeing ourselves age in the mirror with the years, we must be happy and rejoice. It is a philosophy to which I adhere completely. I am very happy to be old.

My advice to the young generations is to be, like myself, extremely disciplined. It takes a strong mind and much determination to age in good health. One must do the same things in the same order every day. For example, every morning, I take my temperature, my heart rate, and my blood pressure. I have a pedometer and I make myself walk 5000 steps a day. 

I eat healthy food in small quantities. I like sweets, but I avoid them as I wish to maintain my weight. Generally, in the morning, I breakfast on brown rice, legumes, vegetables, and miso soup. In the evening I eat largely the same thing, but I add a small amount of meat. Two meals a day is more than sufficient.

I have a notebook in which I make an inventory of everything I eat. My children mock me for my zeal, but that’s no matter to me. As it is important to maintain social ties, I also follow this rule; I always eat in the company of my family. 

To maintain my mental acuity, I study traditional guitar and I play chess once a week.

Zaxarias Pirudis, 99 years old,

Plagia, Ikaria Island, Greece

Since I went blind, I can’t work as much as I used to, but I’m doing well. I don’t believe in God and most people here don’t believe either. When I was eight, one of my teachers was a communist and introduced me to his ideology. When he was expelled from school, he had already made several disciples and his philosophy continued to spread across the island of Ikaria. At 13, I was expelled from school for reading Marxist literature. From that moment on, I became a fervent follower of communism, and I still am today since the class struggle is far from won. My friends and family are activists, as are most of the people on our island, also known as the "Red Island".

When I was a young adult, during the war, I deserted the army and had to hide in the mountains for several years. I lived in a cave and ate practically nothing but prickly pears. Later, I was imprisoned and eventually sent into exile with other political prisoners on the island of Macronese. In 1951, I was released and became a farmer.

I’ve committed many excesses in my life. I had a restaurant for a while, but I had to close it because I was becoming an alcoholic. I also smoked a lot. I started smoking in prison because I was depressed, and I smoked until I was 75. I stopped because of health problems. Today I go to the bar every night to chat with my friends, but I just drink two glasses of wine.

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Marika Sardi, 88 years old,

Nas, Ikaria Island, Greece

Reporters, doctors, and students have come from all over the world to ask me questions about the longevity of Ikaria. These strangers are often flabbergasted by my openness and warm welcome. It surprises them that I laugh so much, that I kiss them and that I take them in my arms. Perhaps the human warmth of the inhabitants of Ikaria is what keeps us alive so long?

Many things have changed here since the infatuation that has followed the discovery of the blue zones. There are no more than 50 residents of our village, and, over the last few years, seven homes were bought by foreigners who come, for the most part, from various countries of the European Union. These were homes that had always belonged to the same families and that had been passed on from generation to generation. It is a little sad to say goodbye to our heritage.

That being said, I don’t complain. These new arrivals slowly adjust to our culture and, with time, become more open, warm, and generous.

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Ioanna Kochila, 84 years old,

Nas, Ikaria Island, Greece

Life isn’t complicated around here. We eat almost exclusively what we produce. For everything else, the baker comes to deliver bread to us every morning and the fishmonger comes once a week.

I have been married to Ioannis Melis for 63 years. In order for a relationship to last, you must not bicker over trivial things, and you have to get over small annoyances. When your partner is angry, it’s best to shut up and wait for the dust to settle before talking to them about what’s bothering them. People put too much emphasis on little annoyances instead of letting them pass. It’s sad to see couples tearing themselves apart over pride. You shouldn’t wait until your partner is sick or dead before you realize how much they mean to you. My husband and I have been through hard times, but we love each other deeply.

9.grece.Giorgos Karoutsos.DSC_4460.psd 

Giorgos Karoutsos, 92 years old,

Nas, Ikaria Island, Greece

I have been married for 63 years and I am still very much in love with my wife. I wouldn’t be the man I am without her. I’ve always been crazy about her; I’ve always wanted to be by her side, accompany her wherever she goes, show her my affection by lavishing caresses and kisses on her. Unfortunately, young people today no longer want to make the effort that a lasting relationship requires. It is easier to break up with your partner than to invest the patience and work that marriage requires.

I present to you, in sum, the reasons for the longevity on the island of Ikaria: the air and water are pure, the food and the wine come directly from our small farms and contain no contaminants, stress is nonexistent, we walk constantly, we gather regularly with friends to eat, smoke, drink, dance, make music, play cards or go to the many events and festivals the community offers.

As a farmer, I have always been very active. I had to take care of the garden, vineyards, olive and other fruit trees, beehives, sheep, goats, cows, pigs, chickens, etc. Now I have a knee injury that keeps me from working, which I find extremely painful. I smoke a few cigarettes every day to comfort myself.


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Richard Nelson, 99 years old,

Loma Linda, California, United States

I was a surgeon and I stopped practicing at the age of 89. I was born in Japan and studied medicine at a Seventh Day Adventist Church university. My years in Tokyo were the most satisfying of my life. My career has allowed me to both contribute positively to society, and to be fulfilled as a human being. I encourage young people to acquire a good education. It is essential to completely realize oneself.

I take care of my health; I am a vegetarian and almost a vegan. I allow myself an ice cream once a week and the rest of the time I eat only healthy food. I also do a lot of stationary cycling and take part in an aerobic exercise group.

I was afraid to come and live at the Loma Linda Adventist Seniors Center; I was afraid of becoming inactive, sitting all day, and getting bored but, in the end, it was just the opposite. There are so many things to do here!

Unfortunately, my eyesight has worsened terribly. Since I love to read and stay informed, my wife reads to me every day. She reads me news, religious texts, health articles, biographies, etc. It is important, as one gets older, to stay curious and to nurture one’s mind.

We have a happy marriage Carol Mary and me. To be successful in your marriage, you must invest fully in the relationship and take an interest in your partner. One of the rules that we established at the beginning of our union, and that I still particularly like today, is this: if one of us is angry, the other must try to keep calm to prevent the situation from becoming toxic. This small effort at emotional control allowed us to defuse all our conflicts.

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Carol Mary Nelson, 97 years old,

Loma Linda, California, United States

I like people. I like to sit and watch them. I like to imagine their thoughts and try to identify their personality type. Each person has their own way of walking, their own body language and it’s absolutely fascinating. It must be said that I’m a therapist by profession.

I used to participate in several activities at the Seventh-day Adventist Church seniors’ residence where I live, but lately I prefer to spend all my time with my husband. Since my husband, Richard Nelson, is 99 years old, every minute with him is precious. Every day I tell him that I love him. You must love your life partner even more than you love yourself and do things out of love and not out of duty.

I pay attention to what I eat because I want to preserve my health as much as possible. I don’t eat sweets; the pleasure of a dose of sugar is nothing compared to the happiness of being healthy.

My worst flaw is impatience. On several occasions I have been impatient with my husband, and I still feel guilty about it. In the evening when I go to bed, I take stock of the events of the day, and I admonish myself for what I said or did wrong. Religion is very important to me because it gives me a course of action. When I read the Bible, I realize how long is the road that I still must travel, even if I tend to improve. It is important to be tolerant and to love others exactly as they are. We must not slander, and we must avoid jealousy, which is very destructive. We must also see the good side of people and things and laugh as much as possible.

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Helen Dalgleish, 95 years old,

Loma Linda, California, United States

I’m a child of the Great Depression. Unlike many members of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, I’m not from a wealthy family. My father worked illegally here and there all over California. We moved frequently in search of odd jobs in the cotton fields. One day, luckily, we moved to San Bernardino where my father found work with an orange producer. That’s how we discovered the Seventh Day Adventists. The church offered me and my brothers and sisters an education, which allowed us to elevate ourselves in society.

Later, as my late husband was a doctor, he took on the role of provider for the family. I therefore raised my children without needing to work outside the home. When my children were gone, I went to university to study arts. I got my diploma at 49 years old, which is quite unusual.

I had a beautiful marriage which lasted 70 years. Here is my advice to lovers: if you quarrel never go to sleep without settling your differences. Before going to bed, make peace and tell your partner that you love them.

Art takes up a large space in my life. God wants us to take care of our health, and for us to reject everything that does not lift the spirit. Art lifts the spirit. Music, visual arts and literature are examples. Personally, I take part in a choir, I write my memoirs, I play piano, I help out with film projections, and I would like to get back to painting.

I also go to aerobic exercise, and I participate in many meetings and assemblies. I have many friends and am very active on Facebook. I have a boyfriend now. I had a weakness for him the moment he arrived at the Adventists Elders Centre where I live, and things have developed. We talk and we hug. I think it is excellent for one’s longevity.

It seems as though earthquakes are more frequent, and the planet is warming, bringing all sorts of natural disasters. Perhaps it’s the beginning of the Last Judgement. We, the faithful, believe that at the Last Judgement the Lord and his angels will come down to Earth to save us and take us up to Paradise.

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Irving Leonardo Hertlein, 90 years old,

Yucaipa, California, United States

All my social activities are related to the Seventh-day Adventist Church and to spirituality. I’m happy and satisfied with my lot and I live one day at a time. I never get angry, and I am at peace with God. I go to church, I follow the Ten Commandments, and I read a lot to pass the time. I read the Bible, religious texts, and Adventist World magazine which is the Adventist church’s monthly magazine. I am also passionate about embroidery, which surprises more than a few.

My greatest regret is that I left Brazil, my home country, to come and live in the United States with my family. We were well established in Brazil. I have had many disappointments in my career as an accountant because I was an immigrant. But the most difficult test certainly remains the fact that my youngest son has left our religion.

My wife and I have been completely vegan since I had prostate cancer seventeen years ago, and we pretty much eat only organic food. In the morning, after taking a half hour walk, I eat some assorted berries, a banana, a cup of soy milk, a piece of bread that I make myself and a smoothie in which I put acai, alfalfa powder, blueberry powder, wheatgrass powder and protein. For lunch I eat rice, black beans or tofu and cassava, with a large green salad to which I add beets, carrots, dandelions, radishes, cucumbers, sweet peas, and a little hummus. In the evening I only eat a few nuts and fruits that are in season. I take vitamin B, C, and E supplements, as well as garlic capsules, and I take lemongrass tea to improve my blood pressure. I drink a lot of water throughout the day and sleep at least seven hours a night.


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Michelino Scudo, 98 years old,

Villagrande, province of Ogliastra, Sardinia, Italy

I thoroughly enjoyed being a judge at the Miss Italia competition. The girls all kissed me and that made me very happy! The contestants were all beautiful, but I particularly liked number 2 and number 7. I have always loved women, and I love them still. Some women are beautiful, and some are ugly, but one must nevertheless be polite and respectful with them.

In Sardinia the women work intensely. On top of farm work, they cook, clean, tidy, etc. all while the men are relaxing and reading the newspaper. If you ask me, they deserve a Nobel prize. Woman is a marvel! Long live women!

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Elvira Iba, 84 years old,

Villagrande, province of Ogliastra, Sardinia, Italy

When I was younger life was harder, and yet I think it was more beautiful than nowadays. There was a lot of affection between people, we loved each other very much and we understood one another. I made many sacrifices in my life and I worked hard, but always with love, contentment, and gratitude. I was never jealous or envious. When a thing is beautiful, I admire it. I compliment it. I don’t desire it because it is useless. What I have is enough. I have nothing, yet I have everything. I have love. The love of my husband and my grandchildren and that is all that matters.

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Giacobba Lepori, 104 years old,

Villagrande, province of Ogliastra, Sardinia, Italy

I always dress entirely in black, and I wear a black veil because my husband is dead and tradition is that a widow dresses this way. I don’t know what will happen when I reach the end of my life. No-one knows, but I do not fear death. The cycle of life goes on.

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Natale Lotto, 88 years old,

Villagrande, province of Ogliastra, Sardinia, Italy

As a shepherd I have always been very poor, and I have had a hard life. I spent my life walking outdoors, day and night, good times and bad. Like most shepherds in Sardinia, I began working very young and I never had much education. That is why it is difficult for me to express myself with ease when journalists come to ask me questions. What’s more, I find myself ugly in photos, I look old. All that to say that I am generally satisfied with my life. Each morning I feed the animals; it makes me happy to work a little and stay occupied. We must keep working for as long as we can. I was gardening today for example. We grow everything: potatoes, beans, zucchinis, tomatoes, everything. My garden feeds six of my relatives’ households.

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Dario Loi, 88 years old,

Villagrande, province of Ogliastra, Sardinia, Italy

The secret to longevity? Water, cheese, and wine! I am retired but, as my pension is insufficient, I am still a farmer. I grow a bit of everything, and I have a few pigs. I also cultivate some vines as I love a glass of wine while eating. I get the impression that to go far in life one needs a little wine. That is my humble advice. I don’t drink too much, but I won’t turn down a glass or two at meals. Thanks to God, I have had a glorious life. Everything is going very well for me. I get along well with my wife, we look after the farm, we go to the sea often, we go on little trips, we visit churches. And even if I am a little old man, I have lost none of my passion in bed!


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Francisca Paula Obando Angulo, 99 years old,

Los Jocotes, Nicoya peninsula, Costa Rica

Here is my advice to live to a hundred. You must eat simple and whole food, chew well, sleep soundly, take care of oneself with plants and natural products, avoid conflict and never speak ill of others. I would also advise young people to pursue their education. My greatest regret is not getting an education. If I could have, I would have liked to become a nurse, or a violinist.

Practicing the traditional dancing of Costa Rica has been a great source of pleasure all my life. When I stopped dancing, I got rid of all my dresses except one. I want to be buried in that beautiful dress.

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Jose Bonifacio Villegas Fonseca, 101 years old,

Pochote de Nicoya, Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica

I left school at 9 years old because I had to work. I have been a cowboy all my life and horses have always been my great passion. I am very attached to my horse Corazon, my companion of more than twenty years already.

I have lived a far from exemplary life. I have indulged in every imaginable vice: alcohol, dancing, women, parties, tobacco. I had to stop drinking and smoking at 60 as I had health problems. 

Just about everything is difficult when one gets old. One must struggle endlessly. It bothers me greatly to not have energy, to lose my memory, to walk with difficulty. I used to regularly pay visits to the sick of the surrounding area, but my health no longer allows it. Luckily the Lord is with me.

Since the discovery of the Blue Zones, things have changed around here, and we value the elderly more. I have welcomed dozens of journalists, students and doctors, and many festivals have been organized to honor the elderly of the Nicoya Peninsula. Foreign visitors help us a bit financially, which is precious, since we don’t have enough to eat on the state pension. I do not exaggerate when I say we must choose between sugar and coffee as we can’t buy both.

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Dominga Ema Albares Rosales, 104 years old

Santa Cruz, Nicoya peninsula, Costa Rica

When I was a child there was no school in my village, so I never learned to read or write. I had to make do with that. Since my father was violent, I left home when I was still young. 

I have had eleven children and I have been a farmer all my life. The work was exhausting, but life was less stressful than in the city. We ate a lot of wild food, something that I believe is even better for one’s health than farmed food. It’s probably the secret to my longevity. Now that I live in the city with my daughter, I am very depressed. I miss my chickens.

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Ana Reinery Fonseca Gutiérrez, 104 years old,

Nicoya, Nicoya peninsula, Costa Rica

I was in excellent health until I took a round of antibiotics recently; since then, I can’t walk and have no appetite. This medicine is no better than poison if you want my opinion. My goal is to walk again regardless. Despite everything, I am always in a good mood, and I like to receive visitors. I am particularly stylish and flirtatious, and I collect shoes and fancy hats.

The secret to a long life is to take care of oneself, to have a healthy lifestyle, to be satisfied, calm and to have a happy marriage. You shouldn’t get married on a whim, you must take your time and carefully choose your partner.

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Maria Trinidad Espinoza Melina, 102 years old,

Copal de Quebrada Honda, Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica

I haven’t lost my head and my memory is excellent. Visitors from the four corners of the earth have come to speak with me about longevity and I hope that they keep coming since I love meeting strangers! I am grateful to be in such good health and I would like to live for many more years. I don’t want to die, I love life.

Things were better before. There were no chemical products in the food and people were healthier. We didn’t earn much, but we always had enough to live on, especially since we always helped each other.

These days our poverty is extreme. The cost of living is very high, and our retirement pension is ridiculous. My daughter can’t go out to work as she has to look after me full time. That means we are two living on my little pension, which is just enough to cover the electricity. We are always short of money for everything: medicines, phone bills, food, or to buy glasses, shoes, or the fabrics that my daughter uses to decorate our clothes. I would like to ask the government to help the elderly of Costa Rica more, as the lack of resources is an enormous source of stress and desperation.

I advise young girls to carry themselves well, to look after themselves, not to walk the streets at night, not to take drugs or drink alcohol, and to choose an attentive lover. Since not all men are good, one shouldn’t be too quick to get married; it is better to wait a few years to make sure you have a respectful companion.