Bartician Leah Allen is Guyana ’s latest Centenarian
By Franklin Wilson
While thousands graced Bartica with their presence for the annual Regatta activities, a small but equally significant gathering met to celebrate the 100th birth anniversary of Bartician, Leah Allen.
The cool, calm and collective-looking Allen was feted by her two daughters, and five generation of relatives at a Thanksgiving ceremony and party held at Leanna’s Kiddies Park, Fifth Avenue, Bartica, last evening.
Speaking with Kaieteur News, Mrs. Allen who still reads, writes, makes notes and has a good command of what is happening around her, said that she is grateful to God for allowing her the opportunity of being blessed to celebrate her 100th birthday.
Allen, who resides at 169 West Secondary Housing Scheme, Bartica, was born on April 13, 1909 to Sarah Elizabeth-Schroder and John Schroder at Baracara up the Mazaruni River. They both died when she was still a young lady. She attended the St. Edwards School up to sixth standard.
Mrs. Allen was married at an early age to Reginald Allen and that union produced three children, two girls and one boy; Maude Allen-Grenion, Gwenette Khan and the late Philbert Allen who died in 1979.
The children were all born before Mrs. Allen relocated from Baracara to Bartica where she was a dedicated housewife and as her eldest daughter (Maude Allen-Grenion) related, “A very disciplined and caring mother.”
Allen-Grenion recalls that her mother was always a hard working woman. “She was always washing somebody’s clothes, I don’t know how she did it but she did and she took care of us and as we grew up we took care of her.”
Leah Allen has always been a staunch believer in Christ and is still a member of St John the Baptist Anglican Church.
She was and still is an easy going individual whom Allen-Grenion recalls never got into any quarrel with her neighbours or any kind of situations with anyone.
“She was always very quiet even though she was strict with us but was always quiet to the extent that people would always say your mother is so quiet and I would say, ‘you go in that house and you would know how quiet she is.’”
She got the opportunity to go to the United States of America in August 1990 through her eldest daughter, Allen-Grenion, who said that her mother returned to Guyana four years ago after she (Allen-Grenion) retired.
“Ever since then, I’ve been going and coming every year because I want to take care of her.”
When she is not here, a niece (Claudette Benn) takes care of Mrs. Allen.
At this age, Allen reads, writes and can still have a very civil conversation with those around her. “She still understands most of the things that goes on around her and is doing very well.”
Asked what she felt was responsible for her mother going so strong, Allen Grenion said, “It is the encouragement and the care that she gets apart from reading books and doing puzzles. If you don’t have God in anything there is nothing you can do and I always remind her to thank God everyday of her life because so many young people are dying and she is still here and still able to enjoy life.”
Allen Grenion noted that she wishes a few more persons in the family could also live to this great age of 100.
Older folks, she said, need a lot of care and encouragement and lots patience even though sometimes they make you fret. “Forget about it and keep going, keep loving and taking care of them.”
Leah Allen is the second Centenarian alive in Bartica. Gwendolyn Allicock-Croft is the other Centenarian alive and according to reports, is doing very well. She resides at First Avenue, Bartica.