This happened in June 2009. I was collecting historical information to write my book on the history of the Lapão, Bahia, Brazil, entitled Lapão, Cem Anos de História. After long exhausting trip by gravel roads for Canarana, I found a beautiful black woman. I still feel his remarkable presence until today.
Alvina Rosalina was her name. I don’t know if she still alive. A beautiful black woman held my attention by the elegant posture. She had a penetrating gaze, seeming able to read our minds. She was the daughter of an Indian captured by dog in the forest.
Alvina was hunchback, supported on a long walking stick made with mastic branch. It is a tree of the Brazilian Northeast. Despite using walking stick, his legs seemed very strong.
She squeezed my hand with some force to greet me. This act demonstrates regard by the person greeted. I learned this from my deceased parents.
Alvina had completed 115 years of life, same age as his father also black woman. He died, but she continued to live. She was in front of me, bored of life, waiting for death to come, even without being sick. A centennial life, marked by the joy of good crops in the fields. Also learned with sorrow caused by countless dry, as 1932. She experienced the kinds of sufferings and joys of typical backcountry hick.
His grandmother Cassiana (Dindinha) lived in the time of slavery and was forced to mark other black men and women with iron ox, like animals. A very sad situation among many others that her grandmother had told her, involving prejudice, humiliation and contempt against blacks.
The Alvina’s eyes filled with tears when he remembered of the late father, Avilino Marques Borges. He was born a slave and ate the “bread which the devil flatted” during their captivity. He was one of the blacks who came from Macaúbas for America Dourada. He came together with the first members of the Família Dourado.
I asked her how had been your childhood. She told me that as a child walked more than ten kilometers, with a bundle of clothes dirty in the head, to wash the source of Lapão. When she finished washing clothes, after hours under the scorching sun, returned to his home, walks another ten miles back.
I stayed almost two hours with beautiful black woman 115 years. I spent two enjoyable hours hearing her talk about the past. She seemed to have traveled back in time to relive everything in detail. Was a long conversation. Among all his words, this impressed me a lot:
“My illness is not of pharmacy, is not of age, my son. I´ve lived so much that I asked the sky God to take me, but he would not do that until today. ”
Sometimes, reflecting on what she said, I wonder if the life loses the reason over the years, becoming a terrible boredom. Is there any age limits acceptable for the life of a human being? I am a lot younger than her, but sometimes I beginning to fall in this boredom, as if I had also already lived the same 115 years of Alvina.