Mother of many felicitated on Elders Day
The Elders Secretariat last week celebrated World Elders Day by honouring 77- year- old Ro s a l y n N o n a f rom Bambaragaswewa in the Galle District, a proud mom of 20 children. Rosalyn Nona was felicitated at the BMICH on October 1 for her incredible feat of giving birth to all 20 children at home.
Her husband Jinadasa ( 88), a labourer, said all his children were delivered at home with the help of the village midwife, who was now deceased.
Rosalyn Nona narrating her life story said that she married in 1956 at the age of 21 and gave birth to her first child in 1957. The twentieth child was born in 1982. "I took no medicine other than herbal syrups prepared by the midwife," Rosalyn Nona said.
Her children include 13 boys and 7 girls. Her husband provided for the family by plucking coconuts or doing other menial work. Back then, his income was around Rs. 7.50 a day. "My children have undergone immense hardships but they never complained. They love us," the proud mother said.
Jinadasa, speaking to the t he Sunday Times points out that in the present day even village families opt to have one or two children. Both Rosalyn and Jinadasa believe that children are an asset if properly brought up. "Children are never a burden," they say.
The old couple speak proudly of their generation who are healthy and strong. "I am now 88, but my hair is not grey. We have never gone to hospitals for any sickness. We have fed our children with yams and fresh vegetables," Jinadasa said.
He said that he was 23 when they married and now they have 153 grand children. "We are delighted to be recognised by the state."
"Simply bringing children into the world is of no use unless good life practices are instilled in them. I have never hurt my parents and always did their bidding. My children do the same and they look after us. It will be good to have them around at our deathbeds," he said.
Rosalyn Nona with husband and children
Rosalyn Nona Pix and text by M. Buhardeen