Belarus Woman Celebrates 116th then 117th Birthday ------- Old News but Interesting -------

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MINSK, Belarus (AP) Wednesday May 05, 2004 4:24pm - A woman believed to be the oldest in the world celebrated her 116th birthday Wednesday in the former Soviet republic of Belarus.

"I'll drink to my own health with pleasure," said Hanna Barysevich, a former farm worker who lives in a house outside the Belarusian capital Minsk.

"I'm tired of living already, but God still hasn't collected me," she said with a smile.

Barysevich was born on May 5, 1888, in the village of Buda, 37 miles east of Minsk, according to her passport. Her parents were poor, landless peasants.

"From my early childhood I didn't know anything but physical labor," said Barysevich, who never learned to read or write. She worked in a kolkhoz, or collective farm, until age 95, then moved to the house she shares with her 78-year-old daughter Nina.

Barysevich lived through the Bolshevik Revolution, two world wars and the collapse of the Soviet Union. The worst period for her was the reign of dictator Josef Stalin: Her husband Ippolit was declared an "enemy of the people" for allegedly harming the collective farm, arrested and taken to Siberia. He was never heard from again. She raised her three children on her own, including throughout World War II, when she used to take her family to the woods outside the village to hide from the Nazis.

"A lot of men courted me but I preferred to live on my own," she said.

Today, Barysevich moves with difficulty but unaided. She complains of occasional headaches and worsening vision "but nothing else bothers me."

She attributes her longevity to genes: Her paternal grandmother was 113 when she died. As to diet, Barysevich prefers simple village food: homemade sausages, pork fat, milk and bread.

Daughter Nina said her mother has a good appetite, a tough character and very strong nerves.

"Throughout my long life, I understood that it isn't worth it to get upset and take everything too close to the heart," Barysevich said.

For her birthday, she hoped for a raise in her monthly pension, equal to about $50, and a chance to go to a Catholic church for confession.

Last month, the Guinness Book of Records recognized a 114-year-old Puerto Rican as the world's oldest living woman. Barysevich said she'd never thought of applying for the distinction.

 

August 19, 2005

 

Woman who may be the world's oldest has operation to restore eyesight

By ASSOCIATED PRESS

MINSK, Belarus (AP) - A 117-year-old woman who may be the world's oldest had an operation on Friday to restore her failing sight.

Hanna Barysevich, a former farm worker who lives in a house outside the Belarusian capital, Minsk, had a cataract removed and an artificial crystalline lens inserted under local anaesthetic during the operation offered without charge at a private clinic.

"Before I asked God to take me soon. Now I can wait a little longer," she joked.

Barysevich was born on May 5, 1888, in the village of Buda, 60 kilometers (37 miles) east of Minsk, according to her passport. Her parents were poor, landless peasants. She worked in a kolkhoz, or collective farm, until age 95, then moved to the house she shares with her 79-year-old daughter Nina.

The daughter said her mother has a good appetite, a tough character and very strong nerves.

Dutch woman Hendrikje van Andel-Schipper, 115, is listed by the Guinness Book of Records as the world's oldest person after the death last year of a 114-year-old Puerto Rican woman. Barysevich said she'd never thought of applying for the distinction.

And another article:

Belarusian Doctors Restore Eyesight to Belarusian 117-Year-Old Woman

Doctors have restored eyesight to the oldest woman of the Belarus, Hanna Barysevich, 117, who had been fully blind for four years. The operation was carried out without charge at a private hospital. Currently she is undergoing a course of rehabilitation.

Ms. Barysevich, who may be the world’s oldest woman, was born on May 5, 1888, in the village of Buda, 60 kilometers (37 miles) east of Minsk, according to her passport. Dutch woman Hendrikje van Andel-Schipper, 115, is listed by the Guinness Book of Records as the world's oldest person.


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