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….says secret to long life is “nuff bush tea, steamed fish”
By Svetlana Marshall
Ann’s Grove oldest resident, James Anderson, on New Year’s Day celebrated his 100th Birth Anniversary among friends and family, who gathered at Punters Place, Ann’s Grove, East Coast Demerara to mark the remarkable milestone.
Ahead of the grand celebration, Anderson fondly known as “Cousin Puppol,” told Village Voice News that his secret to long life is bush tea and streamed fish, as he recalled the days of drinking “sweet broom, sweet sage, wild coffee and congo pump,” tea with his mother. Anderson is Ann’s Grove’s first male centenarian, and a father of nine children.
Born on January 1, 1921, Anderson was the second of 10 children – six boys and four girls – but the only surviving sibling today. “I am happy to be alive,” he told Village Voice News, while adding “I am feeling alright in my body, only my eyes giving a little problem.”
As a child, Anderson was taught by his mother to “speak the truth always.” For seven years of his early adult life, Anderson spent time on sea with his father, who hailed from South Africa. During that period, he not only developed a love for fishing but also a love for steamed fish, particularly mullet. He would boil the mullet with coconut milk and fresh seasonings, then strain the broth and drink it. The centenarian said to this day he enjoys eating his fresh vegetables and steamed fish, and would avoid eating canned food as much as possible.
Aside from fishing, Anderson worked as a farmer in the cane and rice fields, and doing whatever he could to provide for his family.
His daughter Pam Anderson told Village Voice News that her parents got married on June 27, 1953. The marriage produced four children – two girls and two boys. Anderson made five other children outside of his marriage. “My father is a loving man. As a child, he got me and my sister and would wash our hair, and sit and talk with us,” Pam said.
At Punters Place on New Year’s Day, Anderson’s family held a thanksgiving service to celebrate his birth anniversary, and reflect on the many good years the continue to share.