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How to live to  100?

Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica

Maria Trinidad Espinoza Melina, 102 years old

Copal de Quebrada Honda, Nicoya peninsula, Costa Rica

I haven’t lost my head and my memory is excellent. Visitors from the four corners of the earth have come to speak with me about longevity and I hope that they keep coming since I love meeting strangers! I am grateful to be in such good health and I would like to live for many more years. I don’t want to die, I love life.

Things were better before. There were no chemical products in the food and people were healthier. We didn’t earn much, but we always had enough to live on, especially since we always helped each other.
These days our poverty is extreme. The cost of living is very high and our retirement pension is ridiculous. My daughter can’t go out to work as she has to look after me full time. That means we are two living on my little pension, which is just enough to cover the electricity. 

We are always short of money for everything: medicines, phone bills, food, or to buy glasses, shoes or the fabrics that my daughter uses to decorate our clothes. I would like to ask the government to help the elderly of Costa Rica more, as the lack of resources is an enormous source of stress and desperation.

I advise young girls to carry themselves well, to look after themselves, not to walk the streets at night, not to take drugs or drink alcohol, and to choose an attentive lover. Since not all men are good, one shouldn’t be too quick to get married; it is better to wait a few years to make sure you have a respectful companion.


Jose Bonifacio Villegas Fonseca, 101 years old

Pochote de Nicoya, Nicoya peninsula, Costa Rica

I left school at 9 years old because I had to work. I have been a cowboy all my life and horses have always been my great passion. I am very attached to my horse Corazon, my companion of more than twenty years already.
I have lived a far from exemplary life. I have indulged in every imaginable vice: alcohol, dancing, women, parties, tobacco. I had to stop drinking and smoking at 60 as I had health problems. 

Pust about everything is difficult when one gets old. One must struggle endlessly. It bothers me greatly to not have energy, to lose my memory, to walk with difficulty. I used to regularly pay visits to the sick of the surrounding area but my health no longer allows it. Luckily the Lord is with me.