10 June 2010

Oldest Living Woman in World Now in Indonesia

*** The oldest woman in the world is an astounding 145 years old!

Formerly the oldest living woman was Eugenie Blanchard thought to be oldest at age 114. No photo provided for Katemi of Indonesia.

From Denny: The oldest woman in the world is an astounding 145 years old! Katemi was found to be living in Riau Province, Indonesia.

Census takers visited her home and could not believe what they were told. The previous record of oldest woman was held by Jeanne Calment of France who was 122 years old and lived from 1875 to 1997.

Census takers listed the Indonesian Katemi's year of birth as 1865, you know, the same year American President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. It was also the same year the children's book Alice in Wonderland was published.

Apparently, the original census takers took her year of birth on face value and recorded it. Not until the information reached the head office in Dumai, Indonesia, that it was questioned and investigators sent out to verify.

While the French woman's life is well documented, apparently Katemi's does not enjoy such a paper trail. Hers are oral records of family members who know the family genealogy. They were interviewed by the special team of investigators in Bukit Batrem village in Dumai Timor subdistrict. They definitely wanted to double check to make sure there was no mistake recorded.

Can you imagine what an incredible moment this must have been to interview these people? The team first interviewed Katemi's younger sister, Ama. Her age is listed as age 98. Ama told investigators that Katemi was number two of three children born in Wono Bondo, Pacitan district, East Java, back as long ago as 1865.

Then the team interviewed Katemi's adopted daughter, Mimi, who is age 70. Mimi related how she knew her mother's true age because she was told by her uncle, Karyo, Katemi's brother. Karyo lived to the very ripe old age of 165.

The family history and birth date of Katemi was also confirmed by three of Katemi's grandchildren and great grandchildren. Katemi liked to tell stories of her youth which occurred during the Portuguese, Dutch and Japanese colonial eras, according to Daryulis, census coordinator in Dumai Timor. “All these statements were considered insufficient to support the fact, and therefore the team tried to obtain more information from her neighbors.”

Two of Katemi's neighbors had confirmed Katemi had lived in their village since 1980 but had not aged significantly. Sutejo is 45 and Dwi is 50 years old. “So I think it is quite possible that Katemi is 145 years old, because she has a 98 year-old younger sister and a daughter aged over 70 years,” Dwi said.

Looks like the family, neighbors and villagers were convincing as Katemi's birth date remains on record. The census takers were amazed.

There have been records verified over the years of people living this long in places like the Near East, Asia and Eastern Europe. Obviously, anything is possible, even a very long life.

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