West Berbice man celebrates 101st birthday

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
Edwin Renford McDonald called “Uncle Ren” along with seven of his children

Edwin Renford McDonald or “Uncle Ren” as he is fondly called by family and villagers, was born on February 10, 1921, and is a father of 15 children.

He is now 101.

He celebrated the milestone with a simple church service at his Bel Air, West Coast Berbice, Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice) home, with his nine children who are still alive.

Though he is visually impaired, he still attends Hopetown Congregational Church.

McDonald, who has outlived his other two siblings, grew up at Hopetown but now lives in the neighbouring village of Bel Air. He can still remember his boyhood days.

After leaving school, he worked for a short period as a carpenter, then he left for Kwakwani, Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice), where he was employed at the Demerara Bauxite Company in the drilling section. He later worked in Linden in the bauxite industry for four years, and then returned to Kwakwani where he worked for a few additional years seeking to find bauxite.

He found love at Hopetown and married Hannah McDonald, now deceased. He built his home in Number 22 Bel Air, Hopetown Village, and remained there where he worked on his farm, planting rice, ground provisions and other vegetables. He also reared poultry and cattle.

McDonald was the father of fifteen children but only nine survived.

He also worked at the Neighbourhood Democratic Council from Number 30 Village to Fort Wellington, as the village ranger who ensured that there was proper drainage and irrigation and properly tended farms.

With his speech now failing him, he told this publication that his great-grandfather was the first child to be born after slavery was abolished.

Referring to his father, who fought in the First World War, he said that when his father returned home, he was not inclined to live the life he lived before going into battle.

It was in 1952 that McDonald, then a ranger working with the NDC, met his wife, farmed and reared cattle, sheep, goats, and fowls. He also planted vegetables, and it was only recently that he gave up taking care of the garden because of poor health.

Now, he is confined to his bed if not assisted. Apart from his nine children, McDonald has about 85 grandchildren, 70 great-grandchildren and 15 great-great grandchildren.

His wife died at age 73 and his two siblings both died in their 80s. His eldest child is 75 and the youngest is 56.

“Uncle Ren” had a cousin from the same community who passed away last year at 102 while his mother-in-law lived to be 103.

Though confined to soft and liquid diets, McDonald still loves his plantains and eddoes.