Hitoyo Mori

Hitoyo Mori, shown wearing a lei (Hawaiian for garland) in both of the photographs above, was an American centenarian of Japanese ethnicity.
Born in Hana, Maui County, Hawaii, United States, to parents of Japanese lineage on 11 February 1902 according to the United States Social Security Death Index, Mori spent her childhood on a small sugarcane farm established on leased land by her parents. She remembered seeing a car for the first time at age seven, being surprised at its coldness (as she was accustomed to riding on horses, which were warm), and thinking "It moves?"
Mori, her husband, and their son lived as a family in Hawaii for most of their life, with granddaughter Joyce Lampert describing it as "difficult but rewarding".
Mori had to raise her son with difficulty with food rations when her husband, Tenran Mori, legally a Japanese citizen, was recalled less than twenty years into their marriage during the Second World War to assist in the war effort. Seventeen years after the war, the pair founded a temple in Honolulu, which to this day bears a bust of Mori's husband on its grounds.
Mori with granddaughter Joyce Lampert on 10 January 2012
Mori, who attributed her longevity to fish, vegetables, and hard work, moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in her 90s to be closer to the rest of her family, which, as of 2012, included grandson Charles Mori and Mori's daughter-in-law Betsy Mori, as well as a great-grandson. Her son, Raymond Mori, had predeceased her by that time.
Mori's family stated that she had been born on 10 January 1902, and that the doctor responsible for her birth had failed to register it until 10 February of the same year. Although she celebrated her presumed 110th birthday with her family in January 2012, she died on 1 February 2012, just over three weeks later. Although the Social Security Administration has been known to turn up erroneous cases in the past, its take on her birthdate of 11 February 1902, the most conservative, would mean Mori had lived for a total of 109 years and 355 days. Had her date of birth indeed been 10 January, she would have lived 110 years 22 days, thus making her a true supercentenarian by three weeks.

Italy's Oldest Dies at 113

Stella Nardari-Vecchiato, a supercentenarian born in Roncade, Veneto, Italy, on 23 December 1898, has passed away as that country's oldest living resident and the world's second-oldest Italian. Nardari died at a nursing home in Quarto d'Altino, Treviso, Veneto just after 11pm on 23 February 2012, aged 113 years, 62 days.
Nardari, who, when asked for her secret to longevity, would answer with "God has forgotten me", became Italy's oldest person on 2 August 2011 upon the death of Venere Ires Pizzinato-Papo, also from Veneto, born on 23 November 1896.
Nardari, aged 112 years 222 days at the time of Pizzinato's death, was then the ninth-oldest Italian on record and the 17th-oldest living person. Her predecessor had died as the oldest Italian on record at the age of 114 years, 252 days.
The record for the oldest Italian-born on record currently belongs to Dina Guerri-Manfredini, born 4 April 1897, a resident of Iowa, United States, and the world's second-oldest person at 114 years 325 days at the time of Nardari's death.
At the time of her death, Nardari was the fifth-oldest person to have passed away in Italy. She was also the seventh-oldest Italian-born person on record, if one counts the emigrant cases of Manfredini and Amalia Ruggieri-Barone (6 October 1884 - 26 June 1998 in Connecticut, United States, aged 113 years, 263 days).
Nardari was the tenth-oldest living person in the world at the time of her death, though this rank stands to be revised posthumously due to the case of an anonymous and unvalidated Japanese woman from Kanagawa prefecture, who was born in December 1897. Her death brings Tome Takaoka and Hina Shikawatari of Japan, both born on 1 January 1899, into the top ten oldest living people in the world as the first people born in 1899 to do so.
Her death also leaves Maria Redaelli-Granoli of Lombardy region as the oldest living person in Italy at 112 years 326 days as of 23 February 2012. Redaelli, born on 3 April 1899, is also the first 1899-born to hold the title of Italy's oldest living resident.
Her death also leaves Cirilla Zenari as Veneto's oldest living resident. Zenari, born on 28 February 1902, was aged 109 years 360 days at the time of Nardari's death.
Click for a report on Nardari's death in Italian. Note however that it offers the wrong dates of birth and death for Nardari, stating her to have been born on 22 December 1898 and to have died on 24 February 2012, making her appear to be two days older than she actually was.

the prettiest place in Togo

I am taking my angst out by blogging

Its been a good two weeks. My burned esophageal sphincter finally healed so I can eat and drink without wanting to cry

New malaria medication apparently does that to you if you aren't careful . . .think of heartburn on steroids. It was a really rough 10 days.

One of my favorite things is when I am sitting in a bush taxi and a mom gets in with her toddler/conscious baby in front of me. The kid eventually starts looking around, sees me, or D, and his/her eyes get huge. Then, if its a baby, his/her head flops back. If its a toddler, he/she dives into mommy's chest. Blue eyes really weird kids out, more so than white skin I think.

One kid a couple of weeks ago was nursing-- double fisting a breast-- when I took off my sunglasses and looked him in the eyes. He dropped lunch and stared at me with these jet black eyes. It was pretty cute.

I've been traveling a lot lately. I've slept on a floor more times this month than I've slept in my own bed. It was weird being in my house though, without any cats in it. It feels dead.

Randolf, the flat spider thats as big as my hand and who lives on my bedroom wall above my clothes rack, doesn't snuggle as well as a cat. I threw something at him the other day, but he dodged.

Hot season is here. Sort of. If I take a shower and go to bed I will wake up 8 hours later and not be able to tell if I dried off or not.

Road construction is going really quickly on the kabou/kouka road. Naware looks like a war zone after they widened the road bed and bulldozed a bunch of houses. Manga is this little un-touched oasis that is about to be attacked by bulldozers from both ends. I am kind of surprised at how much it looks like a road construction project in the US.

The Bassar/Sokode road repair job is much different. I would hate to be a Togolese road construction worker. They heat the tar up in 50 gal. barrels and sprinkle it on the roadbed with watering cans. then they toss on sand. they cook the asphalt in these big troughs over wood fires and spread it with shovels and wheelbarrows. the only machinery i've seen is a big roller.

So the other day D and I went out to Badou, a little city in the mountains of south-west Togo near the Ghanian border for my friend John's bday. It was really pretty. Think Tennessee with banana trees. It rained every day we were there too, which was amazing in and of itself. Actually it rained all over Togo last night. That is really strange.

We hiked out to a water fall that was a tourist destination back when Togo had a big tourist industry. It is gorgeous. Like a movie set. See the pictures.

Volunteers crossing the stream. I took this picture standing in it . . .

Baby spiders on the water surface.


up close.

Me and D under the falls. It felt amazing.

Ursula Burkhardt

Ursula Lina Burkhardt was a German supercentenarian who was stated to have been born on 24 September 1900, though as of 2012 she remains unvalidated by the Gerontology Research Group. In the above photograph, she is seen seated, with her 85-year-old daughter, Elfriede Schmidt, and Erich Josef Geßner, the district governor of Neu-Ulm, Bavaria, Germany, where Burkhardt lived during her final years.
Born in Württemberg, Germany, when Wilhelm II, the last ruling monarch of Germany, was still in power, Burkhardt was reported to have joked on her 110th birthday: "I am only 100 years old!"
Erich Geßner personally visited Burkhardt on her 109th birthday, gifting her with orchids. It was reported in translation that Burkhardt apparently remembered this as the same gift Geßner had given her on her 105th birthday several years prior.
Burkhardt, who named hard work as one of the reasons for her longevity, was the oldest person living in Neu-Ulm from at least September 2009 until her death.
In September 2010, Geßner visited once more with orchids for Burkhardt's 110th birthday, having promised her the year prior that "I will visit again next year."
Burkhardt, who was reported to be grateful to her daughter for the care she had given her, was also stated to be humourous by nature.
She died on 13 November 2010, aged 110 years, 50 days, her death being reported in the local newspaper where she lived. At the time of her death, she was believed to be Germany's second-oldest living person. If validated, she would have been the 39th-oldest German on record, based on currently public records, and the world's 83rd-oldest living person at the time of her death.


I have just read a piece of news about bullfighting, about children watching it or not. What do you think of this? Try to write advantages and disadvantages in 200 words.

Emilie Taillard

Emilie Taillard, born Emilie Marie Thérèse Villier, was a supercentenarian from Franche-Comté, France, who was born on 16 September 1900.
Taillard, one of eleven born to her parents, had a younger sister who died aged 99 sometime between January and September 2010, as well as another brother who lived to be more than 100 years old. Her remaining siblings lived to be about ninety years old each, with Taillard becoming the longest-lived among them.
At the time of her 110th birthday in 2010, only the eldest of Taillard's nine children had predeceased her. Among the surviving children was a son, André, aged 81 as of 5 January 2010.
Taillard also had twenty-five grandchildren and thirty-five great-grandchildren, as well as eight great-great-grandchildren. During her final years, she lived with her youngest daughter, Genevieve, who was born when Taillard was forty-six years old.
Taillard, who mostly led a healthy life, was reported to have no answer when asked what her "secret" to longevity was. According to a French source in translation, she was reported to have enjoyed coffee with cancoillotte, a runny French cheese produced mainly in Franche-Comté, Taillard's hometown, every evening. She was also stated to have abstained from alcohol.
Taillard with a younger woman, believed to be one of her daughters.
Taillard was reported to have a strong character and would rarely complain, according to her daughter, 74-year-old Jacqueline. She also disliked conflict, particularly at home.
Taillard, whose husband was a farmer, also had to at one time care for four of her sister's children on top of her own nine, bringing her total charges then to thirteen in addition to the farm duties she had to carry out.
The requisite documents for Taillard's validation were obtained when she was still 109, and she was subsequently added to the Gerontology Research Group database on 12 December 2010, just three days prior to the death of fellow validated French supercentenarian Joséphine Fouesnel at 110 years 67 days, as well as that of Belgian Aimée Rensonnet-de Teirlynck at 110 years 331 days, on 15 December 2010.
Taillard died on 31 August 2011, aged 110 years, 349 days, as the 56th validated supercentenarian to do so for that year.  Though she could no longer communicate in her final days, she was reported to have had a rare display of vitality that had surprised even her attending doctors.
At the time of her death, she was the 66th-oldest living person and the fourth-oldest living Frenchwoman, as well as the 58th-oldest French on record; to this day she still remains one of the 65 oldest French people on record.

St Valentine

I have several exercises for you to celebrate St Valentine. You must copy the exercises,the lyrics, the poem and fill in the blanks. This is the link:


an issue about stuff

I am sitting in the PC transit house in Atakpamé right now. We are editing our third issue of Farm to Market, a joint NRM/SED publication. In other words, it’s a collaboration between agriculture and business Volunteers. I really enjoy working on this publication, despite, um, interesting personal relations with certain other people on the editing team. Atakpamé is probably my least favorite city in Togo outside of Lomé. Its nestled in the hills at the eastern end of the plateaus from whence the region Plateaux gets its name. The road down to the transit house is so rocky that its barely passable even for motos. Walking it at night can easily result in a twisted ankle or urine soaked toes. I can’t remember the last time I wore actual shoes

About two weeks ago I walked out of my house one morning and my host dad told me that the Minister of Health was coming in a couple hours for a meeting. I was like “cool” and walked over to the boutique by the chief’s house to buy phone credit. There I met Kodjo who was helping organize the meeting. Judging from the level of commotion—big meetings are held under the neem tree outside the chief’s house—it dawned on me that I should ask what Minister of Health was coming. The one for Dankpen, my prefecture, the one for Kara . . .? No, the Togolese Minister of Health. I went back to my house to find a nice shirt and a clean pair of pants.

About 10am a convoy of late model SUVs rolled up and disgorged a swarm of dignitaries. There is a strict order at these kinds of events as to who sits where. The most important person gets the nicest chair in the middle, the lesser important people get chairs on either side and behind him. This was such a big deal that my chief du canton got a wooden chair halfway down the front row. My prefet was there, the local Ministers of Health were there, a television crew was there, and so on. I stood there trying to figure out what was going on and someone told me to sit down because I am an “authority.”

The National Minister of Health is actually from Bassar, which is about 60k south of me, in the same region. He picked Nampoch as one of the sites to promote a treatment against river blindness. I have no idea why. The whole event was a pretty big deal. A bunch of my friends put on a hilarious sketch that illustrated why people should take the medicine and avoid river blindness and the Minister gave a speech.

Afterwards, a couple of the dignitaries did a television spot. They were all surprised to find a Volunteer in Nampoch. Apparently they consider it to be fairly remote. One woman told me, in English, that she got her Masters from UCLA. Now she works for WHO. Definitely not what I expected when I rolled out of bed that morning . . .

I went to Pagala a week ago Sunday to be a trainer for the 2011 stage’s In-Service Training. Paul, my boss, told me that he and a bunch of other people had seen me on TV from the Health Minister’s visit.

I turned 30 in Pagala. I was not happy about this fact originally. Pagala is my least favorite place in Togo. But it was actually a nice birthday. The new NRM stage sang happy birthday. D stopped by for the night on her way home to visit me. Katie K, a 3rd year PCV, told the kitchen to make me a birthday cake. I totally surprised when they brought it out. Then everyone sang to me. Again. Then I went out and counted my gray hairs.

IST was fun. The new stage is a good group of people. It was exhausting for us as trainers, but I guess that’s part of it. I led sessions on the Food Security Committee, Funding, and Pump projects.

The day before I left for Pagala, Jenn and Bry came out to Nampoch for a meeting with our Committee Against Forced Marriage. It was a successful meeting. The members are really motivated so stuff gets done without a lot of blood, sweat, and tears on my part, so that’s encouraging. Afterwards, though, we were sitting around drinking tchakba, and I got to talking with a couple of my friends. Gilbert is a student in university majoring in English, so a lot of the following conversation was in english that he translated into Konkumba.

My friend Eli said that the Committee is good but that it needs actual power. I said that it has power because forced marriage is illegal according to Togolese law. They explained that, in their culture, you do not involve yourself in someone else’s affairs unless it affects you. In other words, if you try to stop a father from marrying off his 12 year old daughter, he will think that you have a personal problem with him. I started explaining how laws were there as a tool to help Togolese society develop and improve. Then I started thinking—Togolese civil law was adopted from the French legal code. French law developed with the society—it was adapted by society in response to perceived needs. In Togo, however, the law was imposed by elites on a society that had a different mindset. Now, the law is in place, but Togolese society has to adjust to it. That is where a lot of the development problems stem from.

There is another factor at work too. As our conversation progressed, I talked about how my little sisters are in college and can become whatever they want because of the protection that US law provides them. Then I asked Eli, when he holds his newborn daughter in his arms, what he dreams of her becoming when she grows up. He replied “I dream that she lives.”


Yes! It´s really cold outside, I have seen it through the window. People wear thick coats and walk looking down at the pavement, they look like they are in a hurry, looking forward to getting home. Tomorrow it will be very cold again and we won´t go out. Can you write about 200 words suggesting things to do at home while it is freezing outside?