Woman in Nicaragua Claims She's 116
May. 20, 2003
NIQUINOHOMO, Nicaragua (AP) _ Eva Rayo Potosme eats beef soup, shuns cosmetics and avoids alcohol _ though she acknowledges to being arrested once for moonshining. Her children say she turned 116 years old on Sunday.
That would make her a candidate for the oldest person in the world, though relatives say her birth records were lost years ago in the registry of this town about 20 miles (33 kilometers) east of Managua.
Seated in a wooden rocker, the white-haired Potosme attributed her longevity, however great, to diet.
``I love beef soup with vegetables and that's what I've eaten all my life,'' she said.
Rayo had 10 children, but three have died. Among the oldest of the survivors is 78-year-old Pedro. The youngest of her 40 grand and great-grandchildren is 3.
Relatives say her husband died 38 years ago at age 75, and they say he was younger than she was.
Rayo herself says she's in good health, aside from an inflamed foot that makes it hard for her to stand.
``With this illness in my foot, I think I'm even older,'' she said with a smile.
She admitted to another illness: ``I suffer from hunger. But to be honest, I only eat when there is food, because times are hard and sometimes there is nothing to eat.''
Rayo said her greatest pleasure in life had been working.
``I traveled with my husband from Niquinohomo in an oxcart to the city of Granada (10 miles - 15 kilometers away) to sell fruit,'' she said. ``At that time there was no highway and the roads were full of mud that mired the oxen.''
Rayo said she never used cosmetics and never liked liquor, though she admitted to being arrested once for selling homemade corn liquor called ``cususa.''
``The only headache'' of her life, she said, was that her husband Eusebio Canda had a mistress.
Even so, ``She died before he did and it did not make me happy,'' she said. ``I felt sorrow at her death.''
Rayo is not included on the Gerontology Research Group's list of 41 people confirmed to be 110 or more. The oldest, Kamato Hongo of Japan, is 115.
Even so, Sunday was a day of celebration for the relatives, who gathered Sunday in the old house where some make tortillas to sell amid the wandering of roosters, hens, pigs and dogs and the squawk of a parrot. Pink balloons were strung and a pinata was broken for the children.
Asked if she feared death, she replied: ``And who wants to die?''