MANGISTAU REGION – Nesip Erimbayeva recently celebrated her 103rd birthday with a party that included five generations of her descendants. Her seven children gave birth to 31 grandchildren, who have now had 72 great-grandchildren, nine great-great-grandchildren and four little great-great-great-grandchildren. Erimbayeva’s friends and family celebrated the occasion with dozens of gifts and a huge bouquet of flowers.Erimbayeva was born in the Mangistau region. When difficult times came, her family moved to Tajikistan. “I worked a lot, even from childhood,” she says. “Day and night I tirelessly worked in fields, dug ditches and collected the crops.”
When the World War II started, her husband went to the front and she was left alone with their children. At night she picked cotton, then went to the mill and ground flour. At dawn she baked bread and then went to work. She is sure that the main secret of her health and long life is work.
“We saw famine and war and got through very hard times,” this great-great-great-grandmother says.
The main characteristics of Erimbayeva are her kindness and optimism: she always smiles and seems to love every minute of her life and all the people around her. Perhaps this, as well as hard work, is the secret to a long life.
Despite her age, Erimbayeva says she feels great, walks without a cane, hears well, reads newspapers and watches TV without glasses. Throughout her long life, she has never been to a hospital, has not taken pills, and gave birth to all her children at home. Her youngest son is over 60 years old. Erimbayeva believes that she brought up decent people. Drivers and doctors, teachers and oilmen are among her descendants.
A dozen years ago, the family returned to Kazakhstan. Erimbayeva has witnessed the revolution, survived two world wars and their famine and chaos, watched the collapse of the USSR, the era of perestroika and now has seen Kazakhstan independent.