Andrew celebrating her 100th birthday last year

On two occasions in the 1970’s, it was said she would not have survived serious illnesses but Irma Andrew of Soufriere has defied all odds and today (Friday) she is celebrating 101 years.

Andrew is not your typical centenarian. She drinks one Heineken every day, she sits by the roadside to chat with passers by, she takes a cold bath every day. “No hot water, never in my entire life,” she said.

But most importantly, she walks around without the assistance of anyone and is pretty much independent. “I go to the bathroom by myself, nobody have to feed me, I can do a lot of things on my own,” she boasts to Dominica News Online.

So what is the secret to her longevity? “Ask God, don’t ask me,” she told DNO with a burst of hearty laughter.

A staunch Catholic, she says her faith and her family have been instrumental throughout her long life. “My children have always been with me and this makes me happy,” she said.

Her faith, Andrew says, has always been the center of her life. “I grew up in church because my mother was always in church. I am a person of faith and if you want to live a long happy life, you too must have faith,” she pointed out.

Mondarie Lewis described her mother as a “bold person” who has not done anything special to live so long. “She is a really bold person, you know,” Lewis said. “If something is not right, she tells you as it is. But she is a loving, kind person who holds nobody on her heart. She is very forgiving.”

Lewis remembered twice in the 1970’s when serious illness overtook her mother  and people then predicted that she would have died. “All the people who predicted she was going to die have all died and she is still alive,” she said.

The centenarian has four children, 16 grandchildren, 22 great grand children and nine great, great grand children.

“It’s a big family and it’s all thanks to her,” Lewis said.