CFCA sponsored elderly share life experiences and offer wise advice.
Mercedes is a 75-year-old widow in La Paz, Bolivia. She has eight children, 23 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
In honor of International Day of the Elderly, weíre featuring Federico Antonio, a sponsored 103-year-old in El Salvador. He lives in a Catholic home for the aged. His sponsorship benefits are given to the home, and the sisters provide him with food and other supplies. Read on to learn why heís lived so long!
Federico Antonio, a sponsored 103-year-old in El Salvador.
What is your name? Federico Antonio.
How was your childhood? My childhood was humble. I did not have much upbringing, no education. I didn’t study. I had lots of difficulties. I was poor, and that is what I most regret.
Were you raised by your mother and father? Only by my mother. My father died when I was an infant.
Were you the oldest? No. I was the youngest. I am 103. My mother died at 105.
What year were you born? 1907.
Did you marry? No, I did not marry at all.
Do you have children? No, I don’t have children.
Why didn’t you marry? I didn’t have the means. Before, you paid 30 colones (6 U.S. cents) to get married. Imagine. And after that, you still had to eat, get a house and all the other things. Others can suffer, but me, no. If I am poor, I will suffer alone. But I had a girlfriend who told me, “Let’s get married.” But I always told her, no. Her name was Emilia and she was very pretty. But I didn’t want to marry, even though I intended to earn something to take care of her, but I wasn’t able to. I planted corn fields, but I couldn’t earn anything because the soil wasn’t good for corn. So, I learned to make bread and intended to get married at age 28, but I couldn’t.
In your youth, what work did you do? I was a day laborer. I cleared fields with a machete. I cleared coffee fields with a machete. The military accepted me. I learned to cut poles.
Did you live alone or with your siblings and mother? We lived together, with my mother, until she died.
Did your siblings play with you? Yes, we played and they beat me up and wrestled with me. I had to climb a tree to get away from them.