Maria Christou, a sweet yiayia (grandmother) from the village of Vrysoules in Cyprus, is 102-years-old and has revealed her secret for a long life.
She is a wonderful grandmother with an awesome sense of humor and a sharp mind.
From an early age, Yiayia Maria learned to work only with spontaneity, love, an authentic smile and a good heart.
She learned to be stronger than her pain and to leave what hurt her behind.
No matter how much she has grown, she turns her thoughts back and smiles for all the love she shared over the course of her life.
Then and only then does one realise how futile everything else was which did not contain the most basic ingredient: love.
Yiayia Maria has complete clarity of mind and strong memory.
She spoke to ANT1 CY about her life, but also about how modern people can enjoy the gift of a long life.
“I was born in the village of Anogia and I had a brother. From a young age I loved animals very much. I had my own sheep and I took care of them with a lot of love. I was the best shepherd in the area!
“In those years, animal thieves entered the yards of the people almost every day, stealing and killing the animals.
“One night they entered mine as well. They stole and slaughtered all my animals.
“When I saw them covered in blood, disemboweled, I almost died. I was inconsolable.
“My father could see me crying and decided to send me to work as a maid in Limassol.
“He believed that this way, I would forget it more easily. So he sent me to a very rich house where they loved me and treated me well.
“This family was friends with the family of Spyros Kyprianou (the second president of Cyprus, and former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Speaker of Parliament).
“I remember being fed an egg and I always ate half.
“When I turned 25, they found my husband. Together we had two children, a girl and a boy.
“But he did not manage to make his family happy… At the age of 39 he had an accident at work.
“He was working in Akrotiri and hit his head. He constantly had headaches and fainted.
“He was tortured for six whole years. At the age of 45 he passed away.
“After my husband’s death we moved to Vrysoules.
“My son had come to Vrysoules before us, he lived in his uncle’s house. A little while later we came too.
“Here in the village the people were good, I did not feel foreign for a moment.
“I was cleaning houses so we could live. But I never complained about anything.
“My life was full of emotions, few joys and many sorrows, hardships and bad situations.
“But I had a sense of humor, I was smiling. It could not be done otherwise…
“My life today… I live with my daughter and grandchildren.
“I tell them stories from my youth all day and we laugh.”
When speaking about how a modern person can enjoy the gift of a long life, she said: “Concentrate on keeping a calm mind but also drink a little wine and zivania every day.”
“This is my secret!” she concluded.