Castries East was alive on Sunday, September 14, 2014 as family and friends of Angelina Jn Baptiste, better known in the Marchand community as Raggie, celebrated her 100th birthday.
The day began with a thanksgiving service at the Sacred Heart church followed by a reception at the Castries East Human Resource Development Centre.
Parliamentary Representative for Castries East. Philip J. Pierre, was among the well-wishers to celebrate with the centenarian. Addressing the audience, the area representative recalled a conversation he had with Raggie with a broad smile on his face.
“When I got into church today, Raggie told me, ‘I hear them saying things about you on the TV, but am fighting for you,’. If she was a negative lady, and only saw the glass half empty instead of half full, the stresses of life would have killed her already. She is a positive lady and we should follow her examples. On behalf of the Government of St. Lucia I would like to congratulate her and her family for helping her to reach a ripe old age,” Pierre said.
Raggie was a mother and father to most children who attended the Marchand Dombined School. She operated a confectionery stall from her home close to the school. It was a must for students at break time to shout Miss Raggie or Miss Detdet, her sister who died many years ago, “I want two comfort, two dull.”
Dull was a make up of harden sugar and spice. The comfort was the same, but with a mixture of peppermint which turned it white.
As a former student of the Marchand Combined School, my favourite was, “One in the sauce, or float and fish cake”.
Raggie’s granddaughter, Leonette Jn Pierre, wife of Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Heritage and Creative Industries, Senator Kentry Jn Pierre, said: “It was from the sales of these goodies, like tamarind balls, tablet (coconut cake) she was able to send us to school. Today, I and my siblings have been able to accomplish good things in life.”
The ever alert Raggie, whose eyes are still sharp, thanked her children who took her to the eye clinic.
“I work hard hard to send them to school. I was strict with them; today they have done well, and I pray to God even more after I pass 90 to let me see the 100,” Raggie told reporters.
“The secret of long living? I have none. Only God knows, for it was he who kept me here, because I ate everything God put on earth,” Raggie added, speaking in creole.
Officials from the Ministry of Health, Wellness, Human Services and Gender Relations were in attendance to present a plaque to commemorate the 100th birthday of Angelina Jn Baptiste, aka Raggie.