Not even covid19 restrictions could stop the outpouring of love and affection shown to Ena Smith on her 100th birthday, which was celebrated over the weekend.
Smith of Second Street West in Corinth Village, Ste Madeleine turned 100 on Friday, and, with close family, spent most of the day in a thanksgiving service at the Ste Madeleine Methodist Church.
Smith told Sunday Newsday that she was very happy that she was able to make it so far and planned to live for some years longer.
She said, “My long life was gifted to me by God and I intend to continue to serve him for the rest of my years.”
The centenarian on Saturday was treated to a motorcade by family, friends and well-wishes, who were not able to greet her in person, but just had to show their gratitude and appreciation to the matriarch in their lives.
Her birthday celebrations were also shared with one of her daughters, Jacqueline Brathwaithe, 70, who said it was a blessing to experience long life and good health along with her mother.
Smith was among six girls who grew up in the Usine Ste Madeleine barracks. None of her siblings are alive today and, as she relayed her past, she said her sacrifices are something she would repeat in a heartbeat.
She said, “I remember stopping school at a young age so that I could take care of my sisters. They needed someone home to take care of them as they pursued their education.
“Education is important and young people today should ensure that they have some schooling to get them by.”
Smith is the mother of 17 children of which 11 are alive today. She also has 56 grandchildren, 68 great-grandchildren, and two great-great-grandchildren.
Her eldest daughter Joycelyn Smith-Barrow, 83, said her mother was an advocate for education and always spoke about her appreciation for free primary school education that was made available by the country's first prime minister, Dr Eric Williams.
Another daughter, Hazel Anne, described her mother as loving, kind, and friendly to everyone she came across.
She said, “She has always been conservative and simple. She cared for her children and husband, and her neighbours who needed help.
“She spent most of her time in the kitchen making sure that everyone was able to have something to eat. She would always sneak in a meal of dhal, rice and bhagi, because this is her favourite.”
Smith said she was disturbed by the state of the country and offered some advice as TT moves through the covid19 pandemic.
She said, “We should all have a positive mind and attitude because we are resilient people. Always put God first and remain calm in the storm because it will pass.”
Smith added that having lived through and experienced many events, like the Great Depression and the polio outbreak, people should always hope for the best.
She also advised parents to be more active in their children’s lives.
“What is seen on television is disheartening and sad. A parent crying because a child was killed," she said. “Parents also need to step up and pay attention to their children. It is not all the time your child is a good child. There are things that parents do not know about their children.”
Smith’s birthday celebrations were live-streamed and she spent her special day with her best friend Erma Thomas, 90, who said she also planned to make it to 100 years.