Georgia Claims World's Oldest Person at 130
09 July 2010
The Associated Press
George Abdaladze / AP
Antisa Khvichava looking at her birthday cake Thursday.
SACHIRE, Georgia - Georgian authorities claim a woman from a remote mountain
village turned 130 on Thursday, making her the oldest person on Earth.
Antisa Khvichava, from western Georgia, was born on July 8, 1880, said Georgiy
Meurnishvili, spokesman for the civil registry at the Justice Ministry.
The woman, who lives with her 40-year-old grandson in an idyllic vine-covered
country house in the mountains, retired from her job as a tea and corn picker
in 1965, when she was 85, records say.
"I've always been healthy, and I've worked all my life - at home and at the
farm," said Khvichava, in a bright dress and headscarf, her withering lips
rejuvenated by shiny red lipstick. Sitting in a chair and holding her cane,
Khvichava spoke quietly through an interpreter, since she never went to school
to learn Georgian and speaks only the local language, Mingrelian.
Her age couldn't immediately be independently verified. Her birth certificate
was lost - one of the great number to have disappeared in the past century amid
revolutions and a civil war that followed the collapse of the Russian Empire.
But Meurnishvili showed two Soviet-era documents that he says attest to her
age. Scores of officials, neighbors, friends, and descendants backed up her
claim as the world's top senior.
The Gerontology Research Group currently recognizes 114-year-old Eugenie
Blanchard of Saint Barthelemy, France, as the world's oldest person. The
organization is yet to examine Khvichava's claim.
Khvichava has a son, 10 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and six
Khvichava's 70-year-old son, Mikhail, apparently was born when his mother was
60. She said she also had two children from a previous marriage, but they died
of hunger during World War II.
Although Khvichava has difficulty walking and has stayed largely in bed during
the past seven years, she makes a point of hobbling unaided to the outhouse on
the other side of the yard, loathe to be a nuisance, Mikhail said.
Though her body has all but quit on her - her fingers cramped and deformed by
age mean that she can no longer maintain her love of knitting - relatives say
her mind remains sharp.
"Grandma has a very clear mind, and she hasn't lost the ability to think
rationally," said Khvichava's granddaughter Shorena, who lives in a nearby
To mark the centenarian's birthday, a string ensemble played folk music out on
the lawn, while grandchildren offered traditional Mingrelian dishes like corn
porridge and spiced chicken with herbs to all guests at the party.
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