Sylvia is about 102 years old, we think. She doesn’t remember when exactly she was born and based on her memory and the events she’s lived through, we think that is about right. But we keep finding her so unbelievably vibrant and alive that it seems she must be younger. So we keep thinking, “102?” year by year in a way that one can hardly say another year up and we’ve been saying she is 102 for three years running. Sylvia is an active lady.
She goes to the market and buys used clothing, wrapping it up on her back like a baby. Then she goes door to door offering her wares. Where many others her age expect to be cared for, Sylvia has no family and is up early every day taking care of herself. She often comes to Chikumbuso to visit. Coming in on days that visitors are present, she will go to them and shake their hands, and them bless them with the sign of the cross, priest like, for the help they’ve been giving.