Roatan’s Beauty, Truth & Wisdom
Miss Vida Rose Greenwood at her home.

Ninety Years Old and Vibrant as Ever

Miss Vida Rose Greenwood has no problem climbing the more than 20 steps of city hall in Oak Ridge. If not for her two great grandsons, one nine and the other 13, who she if looking after for a while, she would be home alone.

Miss Vida was born in Port Royal on July 30, 1929 and raised on Calabash Bight Cay, with her parents and four other siblings. Her father, Mr. Haldane Greenwood, married her mother Nina Ebanks of Oak Ridge Cay and worked as a captain on a boat that ran between Roatan and Belize.

The family did not have much, but her dad made sure there was food in the kitchen. “Dad would bring home sacks of flour and other foods, but what we liked most was the jars of stewed plums,” remembers Miss Vida.

She did not do much playing but had fun none the less. “We would all bathe in the sea on Saturdays, after we finished our chores,” she remembers. “Mother would take us to cake sales where there was live music with someone playing the accordion and another playing the guitar.”

Miss Vida remembers Christmas with fond memories: “My dad would put some rapadura (block off brown sugar cane) and pine skin in a drum and let it sit for a week before it was ready; that was our Christmas drink. Each of us got a glassful, and Christmas was done,” she said. Her father passed away when she was eight: “My mother washed and sewed clothes to take care of usand the family helped with whatever they could.”

After the birth of her first child, Miss Greenwood went to work as a housekeeper and cook on Oak Ridge Point making 20 Lempiras a month. “I had to paddle from Calabash Bight Cay to Oak Ridge Point to get to work,” she says, “The wind would be so strong sometimes that it would take the paddle out of my hands.”

‘I lived this long because I was an obedient child’

In all, Miss Vida had seven children and has outlived two of her three daughters and one of her four sons. While Miss Vida moved to Lucy Point 11 years ago after her home in Calabash Bight burned down, her children moved away to Bonnaca and La Ceiba. She still prefers the quietness of the place that saw her grew-up. “I don’t like living here, it’s too noisy,” she protested with a frown and a chuckle.

On most days she gets up at 5 am, washes her clothes, cooks and sweeps her yard. By 7pm she is ready for bed. “I don’t need anyone to mind me, maybe someone to help me clean the house and do the dishes but that’s it,” Miss Vida said emphatically.

Miss Vida was baptized in the 80s and is a member of the Oak Ridge Chapel Church on Oak Ridge Cay. “The Bible says that baptism doesn’t save you, it makes the world see that you are not the person you used to be,” she says with assurance.

“I lived this long because I was an obedient child, the Bible also says that. If mama told us we could not go somewhere, we could not go,” she says. “Kids now a day are not obedient. If you tell them not to do something, they do it anyway.”

The grandmother of 27 and great-grandmother of 46 seems to be in good health with her only complaints being her declining eyesight, periodic bouts of weak spells and headaches.

Miss Greenwood never married and has no regrets. “Life is what you make of it, sometimes it’s good and sometimes it’s bad, but you keep on living and doing what it is you do,” she says in a calm and gentle voice.