New Amsterdam centenarian, ‘Aunty Rhoda’, dies
Rhoda Jean Bourne Warren
Rhoda Jean Bourne Warren

JUST three months after celebrating her 100th birthday, Rhoda Jean Bourne Warren, popularly referred to as “Aunty Rhoda”, died peacefully, shortly after having a light lunch and a bath, said her caregiver, Nikeish Scipio. ‘Aunt Rhoda’ became unresponsive at her home at Lot 45 Stanleytown, New Amsterdam, Berbice, and was pronounced dead on Thursday afternoon, after she was examined by medical practitioners at the New Amsterdam Hospital.
“As she lived, she died; in peace,” said Scipio, an adoptive daughter who had lived with Warren for many years.
At her birthday celebrations on April 22 last, the centenarian had told the Guyana Chronicle that all she needed was “a spoonful of rum, and I gon be alright”.
Despite this significant milestone, the centenarian had told well-wishers, among them her great nieces and nephews, that she was just 90, for fear that death would stalk her if her true age was revealed. “Aunty Rhoda” was born at Number Nine Village, West Coast Berbice. She was brought to East Berbice by her brother-in-law, Noel Liddell, a bicycle mechanic, who at the time was pursuing a relationship with her older sister, Florence. Initially, they’d lived at Lightown Village, East Bank Berbice, before moving to Lot 48, Stanleytown, and later Lot 45, Stanleytown, one of the many cross streets in the New Amsterdam township. She has a biological daughter, Maureen, who lives overseas with her family.

Even though she was advanced in age, the slim-built centenarian had a knack for taste, and would so advise her companions whenever the meals were lacking an essential ingredient.
For her birth anniversary, she’d requested black cake, mauby, chowmein, and macaroni and cheese. The items were prepared by her great-niece, Claudette Liddell-Allen. As soon as the cake and the mauby were brought, she requested a taste, and with closed eyes, she savoured the goodies. It pleased her palate. She smiled while nodding her head. The black cake and mauby lacked nothing. “It good; it taste so good,” she muttered under her breath.
Though experiencing memory lapses during the interview with this publication, she was able to recount that as a young woman, she’d sold cassava pone and other baked items at Providence Market, East Bank Berbice, and later worked as a hairstylist at Mavis New Year’s Beauty Parlour.
Her recollection of the earlier part of her life was vague. She recalled that she had 10 siblings, and that her family raised cows and sold milk, while her father operated a boat along the Berbice River. All in all, ‘Aunty Rhoda’ had been grateful for life. She was also thankful that God had given her so many years, for which she had no regret.

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