This is an incredible story and one of the happiest I have shared since founding Tumaini!
I’d like you to meet Ndemanyiswa – which means “informed by God” in Meru, the tribal language of our new village (phew, and I’m only just finding my way around Swahili)!
We have shared a story or two about bibis (grandmothers) but this one is (did I say?) incredible?
Ndemanyiswa is somewhere over 125 years old! Yes! The family thinks she was born between 1887 and 1894! Wow! Ryan googled the oldest verified living person who turns out to be a 117 year old Italian woman! Pshaw!
This charming dame greeted us with blessings and kisses and the tribal cry of celebration (envision a tongue lashing, high speed, high pitched “LALALALALALALALA”! Bibi’s family story is remarkable also! She is pictured with her first born Eliashea (95 years of age), and her last-born David (65). Also in the photo is her first born grand daughter Tikisaeli who is 70 so is older than her uncle by 5 years! Oddo and I have attended numerous home visits where the odor, site, condition or environment an elderly person struggles in overwhelms us with sadness and frustration because of neglect by their families but not THIS bibi! Her strength, awareness, spirit are incredibly uplifting and one can definitely recognize the blessing of love this family shares for their matriarch!
A local report (coincidentally named “Tumaini” joined us and wrote bibi’s story. We all sat in her room and just couldn’t stop smiling!
Bibi has somewhere around 60 grand, great, and great-great grandchildren and we attempted a photo of five generations but missed one member of that line! (We got four!)
Bibi needs a bit of help. She has asked for a window in her house with glass to block the cold and wind. Also, a double bed instead of the single she now has so that one of her grandchildren may sleep with her and assist her in the night if necessary (perhaps also to keep her warm)! Alert, aware, and with a keen memory she has asked for a celebration (I will miss it unfortunately) with a sheep, rice, and family and friends. Further we are trying to bring her electricity so that she might have a light in her room at night. We are gathering costs to help this very special grandmother so please message me if you are interested in helping! Asante!!