|(Insert)Nahashon Matheri sits before his birthday cake. [Photo: Eric Wainaina/Standard]|
By Eric Wainaina
Kiambu, Kenya: It is a Sunday evening at a remote village in Kiambu County and traditional songs rent the air in a homestead.
Inside the compound, there are over 200 people and about ten of them are assisting an aged man to cut a cake.
Nahashon Matheri is celebrating his 100th birthday in a party, the first such ceremony, organised by his children and great grandchildren.
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As he cuts the cake, which bear his name, 10-year-old girls sing a birthday song for him.
I later learn that they are his great, great granddaughters.
Looking at him, one may be led to believe that the centenarian, who was born on March, 31 1913, is barely in his 80s.
Despite his advanced age, Nahashon still has a good memory and can walk on his own, albeit with the help of a walking stick.
As the celebrations go on, he recounts his life during the colonial period and occasionally cracks a joke, which draw laughter from those present.
The widower, whose wife died in 1996, enjoys Githeri and other dishes people his age wouldn’t touch.
Nahashon and his 93-year-old sister Jane Wambui, who lives in Lari and was also present for the celebration, are the only surviving siblings in their family. They were nine in their family.
And the siblings’ fondness for each was discernible during the joyous occasion as they sat side by side, occasionally exchanging a hearty joke.
Although not growing any younger herself, Wambui wished her brother more years.
“I am happy that God has kept and protected my brother and even though we are both old, we are hoping that he will bless us with more years,” Wambui said amid cheers.
“We decided to organised a birthday party for our father and invited his family members because very few people have had a chance to have parents of this age,” his son Francis Matheri said, adding it was the first time they had organised a birthday party for him.
According to Francis, his father, who is still as fit as a fiddle is able to recognise his offspring and their children.
Nahashon also took part in the March 4 General Election and the fading indelible ink mark on his finger remains proof of that exercise.
No health problems
“Apart from an occasional common cold, my father has not had any serious health issues. He is able to walk 1.5 kilometres to Riabai shopping centre where he goes to a hotel, and then return home alone,” Ann Matheri, the fifth born in the family of seven revealed.
The family urged the government to consider the aged saying from them it might be easy to take care of the old man but it might not be the same for some other families.