At the end of her first day in grade-I at a local school in China, Ma Xiuxian thanked her teacher and five year-old classmates. A front-bencher, Ma, promised to study hard and contribute to the country. She is 102 years old.
Starting work in a cotton mill at 13, she was married at 18 and has produced nine children, seven of whom she has seen through to university. One would think Ma’s contribution to the country was complete many times over but there seems to be more in her arsenal; and she’s not beginning to hold back now.
For the family, she sold much of her jewellery. For herself, she caressed a dream. That dream has now come true.
This is not something many of us can even comprehend. But ingest this: Ma Xiuxian, at 102, is not just one of the eldest living people on earth, she is its oldest formal student – a first grader with 12 more years of schooling to complete. Her reasons, whatever they might be, can only inspire.
In April 2010, a very old wom…