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Dorcas Labby: 101 and going strong

Dorcas Labby: 101 and going strong


While she may no longer have any interest in celebrating Christmas, centenarian Dorcas Labby recalled Christmas in her earlier days as fun loving, as she would go house to house serenading neighbours and celebrating the festive season by socializing with friends at tea parties.

“Christmas is no longer fun like the earlier years. Everything has changed a lot”, she told SEARCHLIGHT.{{more}}

The Questelles woman, who turned 101 on August 21 captured national spotlight last week when she participated in the official opening of the Questelles Learning Centre. Her memory of past events were vivid despite her age and the natural loss of memory that usually strikes in one’s later years.

Entertaining the SEARCHLIGHT at her home last Friday evening, she chatted about the weddings and dances she loved – especially the dances – as her legs moved ever so slightly as the dashing days came to mind.

With an amused look on her face, she tilted her head upward and her eye gazed to the left as she recalled an earthquake shaking the dance floor one night.

Chuckling, Dorcas described how she shuffled through the door to continue dancing in the courtyard and when the earth tremor was over, she slid back onto the dance floor to pick up where she left off.

“I was there until early the next morning.”

Those were the pleasant interludes of what was an otherwise rough life.

Instead of going to school, young Dorcas and her three brothers and sisters had to go to the mountains to take care of the animals and plant provisions to help her family make a living.

Later, she worked with the cassava mills all day long and when she got home it was more work as she had to assist in the kitchen to make dinner for the family to eat.

Back then the meals were not the chicken and rice like today.

“In those days we used to eat a lot of provisions like dasheens and eddoes and farine, we didn’t have the time to eat rice except sometimes at Sunday times when we at home”, she recalled.

Labby who is a mother of eight children four of whom are alive, lives by herself and is able to do her daily cooking and some other minor chores on her own.

According to her, one of her cousins who lives close to her usually helps her around in the house, buying all the necessary things that she may need in town and paying her bills. There are some government officials who also visit her to help in the cleaning of the house.

When asked how she felt living alone, her reply was “I am not alone once my guiding angels are guiding me, no evil can befall me.”

Dorcas was born on August 21 1905 and is the only one alive of her four siblings.