Violet Brown has celebrated her 117th birthday last month. She has spent much of her life cutting sugarcane in the fields near her home in western Jamaica, she attended church regularly, and she avoids pork and chicken.
Oldest person in the world:
Following the death of Emma Morano of Italy, born Nov. 29, 1899 last Saturday, Brown is now believed to be the world’s oldest living person.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Brown said she is surprised but grateful to have lived this long.
In her home in the town of Duanvale, Brown said: “This is what God has given me, so I have to take it – long life.”
The super centenarian research and database division at Gerontology Research Group is a network of volunteer researchers into the world’s oldest people. According to its director, Robert Young, Brown is considered to be the oldest person in the world with credible birth documentation, their website says that she was born on March 10, 1900.
Guinness World Records, which is the official arbiter of the oldest person title, hasn’t declared Brown yet as the world’s oldest. However, Guinness depends heavily on Young’s group.
Young stated that he has met Brown and reviewed her birth certificate, which was issued by the British authorities who governed Jamaica at the time of her birth. He said: “She’s the oldest person that we have sufficient documentation for at this time.”
Jamaica’s prime minister went on Twitter to congratulate Brown.
The new world’s oldest person title is still under consideration by Guinness, as they said they’re still researching a number of candidates. Guinness spokeswoman Elizabeth Montoya said: “It can be a uniquely complex and sometimes lengthy process. There is no confirmation of a new title holder until our thorough processes are complete.”
The secret to a long life:
Brown shares her home with her 97-year-old son. She has two caregivers and spends most of the day resting. She can sit up by herself and walk short distances. She has also offered swift, complete responses to questions about her life and family, despite being hard of hearing.
According to Brown, hard work is the secret to long life. She said: “I was a cane farmer. I would do every work myself. I worked, me and my husband, over that hill.”
She also believes that another factor that helped in her long life was her Christian faith. She said: “I’ve done nearly everything at the church, I spent all my time in the church. I like to sing. I spent all my time in the church from a child to right up,” to today, she said.