Thursday, May 6, 2004

Belarus woman turns 116



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, who lives in a house outside Minsk.

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

"From my early childhood I didn't know anything but physical labor," Barysevich said. She worked on a collective farm until age 95, then moved to the house she shares with her daughter.

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.

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




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