They say age is just a number, but in this rare case scenario, a really big one. Born on October 26, 1900, in the mountains of Bolivia, the oldest resident, Julia Flores Colque, in the town of Sacaba celebrated her 118th birthday last Oct. 26. The town’s city hall organized festivities for Mama Julia, as they call her, in the community.
They marked her special day with cake, music, and dancing. Family, friends, and volunteers brought her gifts and took pictures with her. Dressed in traditional Quechua clothes, complete with white sombrero, Flores played the charango, a type of Andean lute, at her party and tucked into a birthday cake. She even got up to dance with her guests, encouraging them to clap along to the music.
Following the death of a woman in Japan earlier this year, Flores Colque may now be the oldest person in the world. The Mayor’s office and her family are now working to nominate her for a Guinness World Record to officially recognize her as the oldest person in the world.
During her long life, she has seen two world wars. And the town where she is from has grown from 3,000 people to 175,000. Today, Flores Colque looks like a stone statue. She cannot hear very well, but she is alert. She seems most interested in her cats, rooster, and scolds her small dog when the animal goes into the road.
“She’s always been active, easy-going, and fun,” says her grandniece, who lives with her in a simple home with a dirt floor.
Government officials have paid for some improvements to the house, adding a brick path and railings so Flores Colque can walk safely. With Bolivia being one of the South American countries with highest levels of death, Flores Colque’s age makes her especially notable. The Mayor’s office calls her as part of the country’s living history.