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Feb 8, 2018

Age is Just a Number: Mary Tate Turns 104

Mary Tate of the Sister Cecilia Home for the Elderly celebrated her one hundred and fourth birthday today in grand style. She was serenaded by the other residents, ate birthday cake and spent time with her granddaughters. We found her in high spirits and full of energy. Tate told us that she lived on Pickstock Street for more than thirty-years after she relocated to Belize. News Five’s Andrea Polanco was at the Sister Cecilia Home for the celebrations. 


Andrea Polanco, Reporting

This is Mary Tate. She turns one hundred and four years old. She is celebrating the milestone with her granddaughters and her extended family here at the Sister Cecilia Home for the Elderly.


Mary Tate

Mary Tate, Birthday Girl

“1914 in February. Happy Birthday. Happy Birthday to [me]. I like to fight in the war and I go to Wesley School.”


Mary is originally from Honduras andsince the 1980’s she has lived in Belize.Those who know her say that she is lively and loved by all.


Lorna Fisher, Granddaughter

“My grandmother came from Honduras when George Price first get Independence and she came to Belize to live and since then she lived here all her life. She dah somebody who love to dance and love music. She likes to sing.”


Bernard Adolphus

Bernard Adolphus, Chairman, Sister Cecilia Home for the Elderly

“She is a well-spoken person and even though she is very vibrant and funny at times. She is a friend of everybody and no problems. If everybody was like her at 104, it would have been a pleasant situation for our caregivers and her supervisors. Nonetheless, she is a good soul. She is blessed. At 104, that is a blessing.”


But what keeps this lady going? Her granddaughter says the family is a big part of Mary’s life. Her only son passed many years ago, but she raised eight of her grandchildren.


Lorna Fisher

“The grandchildren because she loves her grandchildren and she always want to see all of them in front of her. She likes to dance and talk about fight, so I can’t take that out of her to leave her alone.”


Andrea Polanco

“Do you have a favorite memory of her?”


Lorna Fisher

Lorna Fisher

“I could remember when we used to go parades and if anybody buck pahn we, she wah fight she nuh wah anybody touch fi she grand pickney deh. She say ‘ohhh’ and she wah haul we one side and nuh touch fi she grand pickney because she ready fi war.  She raised eight of us but our father had more than one of us but she raised eight of us and put is in Holy Redeemer School.”


Andrea Polanco

“What did she do in the past? Like what did she do for a living?”


Lorna Fisher

“She used to sell. She used to make bread, potato pound, we used to grate on Sunday, and she sell and that is how she put us through school.”


Andrea Polanco

“What does she like to eat these days?”


Lorna Fisher

“She likes cassava pudding, bread pudding, coconut crust – that is her favourite. She nuh really like black cake, though.”


Andrea Polanco

“But she has a sweet tooth?”


Lorna Fisher



Andrea Polanco

“Did you guys ever expect that your grand mom would live to see this age?”


Lorna Fisher

“Nope. We didn’t so. Nobody.”


Mary lives here at the Home for six years now. And while she keeps busy, the impact of the care at this home is not lost.


Bernard Adolphus

“Without the staff, without the supervision of Ms Humes and the caregivers here it would not be possible. As a matter of fact, I can boast to say we have another 104 in June of this year. It goes to show that with the level of care; this is what the achievement is. It is not easy to look after someone who is one hundred and four.”


Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

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