At 100 years old, Olga Christie has many pearls of wisdom to pass on to young women about preserving their virtue and never giving up.
Christie, who said she is still a virgin, recently celebrated her 100th birthday. In an exclusive interview with The Gleaner, she stated: “Women can change the world. We are powerful, and if we keep God in mind, we can achieve all things.”
The former schoolteacher who opened her Christie Basic School in 1951 and inspired thousands of students to be leaders, noted: “Education is very important. I never thought I would live to see a female prime minister, let alone a black president in America.
“When I was growing up, black people – especially girls – had to work twice as hard to get somewhere in life. So it is important that girls pay attention in school and get a good education. They must also keep their virtue and not allow boys to be a distraction. Get an education and follow your dreams. Say no to sex and yes to God,” the virgin senior advised.
Born April 25, 1915, and now the only surviving twin to deceased parents Ethel McCarthy and Henry Christie, she had four siblings. Christie was raised in South Side, Kingston, and attended St Michael’s School. She travelled to the United States in 1988, but not being bedazzled by the fast life of America, Christie returned home.
She revealed: “When I was 25 years old, I remember attending tutorial school and I passed all my exams. I then opened Christie Basic School after a large storm came and destroyed all the schools and the children had nowhere to go. At 50, I was still teaching, but I continued to be very devoted to church and to God.” She remains well loved by past students because she showed them respect and kindness.
The centenarian recalls that there was far less crime in the neighbourhoods in her days and that there were also fewer people on the streets.
“I joined the senior citizens’ club when I was 75 and also polished my embroidery skills. Now that I am 100, I am patiently waiting to meet (my) God and Saviour. I am looking towards the eternal world. I don’t like all the wickedness that is going on now, so I stay focused on God even more now than ever,” Christie said.
Still full of life and possessing a sharp wit at 100, Christie is described as the “great-, great-, great-grandmother of the community. She told The Gleaner, “I believe I have lived this long because I have always honoured my mother and father,” quoting Exodus 20:12, which guarantees long life for children who honour their parents.
Having never been married, or had a romantic or sexual relationship, Christie expressed her strong Christian faith, declaring her love for and devotion to Christ since a young child.
“I have never had an interest in men because my interest was always in God my Saviour and salvation. Yes, there were men who were interested in me, but I was not interested in them. My love was with Christ. I am a strong, devoted woman of God who honours the Bible and its teachings,” she said when asked whether she had had any sexual urges or romantic affairs.
An avid reader, she also likes to sing and bake and reminisced that the biggest change she has witnessed over the last century is with food. “When I was growing up, food was so much cheaper and the quality was far better compared to what is available now. I don’t know how growing families survive,” she said.
Peace To Prevail
Regarding the high crime levels, Christie yearns for Jamaica to be how it used to be. “The crime in Jamaica breaks my heart, and I always pray that peace will prevail on my beloved island. Education is the key. If every child learns a skill, they could set up their own business and become future leaders, contribute to society rather than destroy it,” the community elder said.
Christie maintains that her secret to longevity rests in her devotion to God. Supported by her nephew, Mervin McCarthy, whom she describes as “the son I never had,” his partner, Wilma Blackburn, the community members from Bower Park, Kingston, and her North Street Seventh-day Adventist Church family, she reiterates: “I live by the saying ‘Do to others as you wish others to do to you’,” something she regards as important in all situations. And also on the words of Psalm 90, her favourite Bible passage, especially when she was physically or spiritually challenged.
“My aim in life was to always do God’s work and help others to come to Him. Women play an important role in doing God’s work. We must honour that role and calling and always lead by example.