Long-term Antiguan resident Hyacinth Mottley – born in Barbados on May 13 1914 – marks her incredible 106th birthday today.
In her twenties, she left her job as a Barbados school teacher and embarked on a remarkable journey that took her to several Caribbean islands — from Trinidad to St Croix and everywhere in between. From these travels she gained many interesting life experiences and lessons. From her father, Daniel Mottley, a member of the freemasons and a sailor who had travelled the world, she heard many exciting stories and learned powerful and often prayerful practices.
She is a fiercely independent person who believes strongly in the power of prayer and praise. This is exemplified in her book “Words of Wisdom – Words of Praise” which she published when she was 97. In her book, she comments on the issues of personal development, spirituality, politics, religion and social life. The book is based on her life experiences and is filled with pearls of wisdom and nuggets of faith that many are using as guides for living their lives in these difficult and troubling times.
Ms Mottley has been living in Antigua for over 75 years. In her early years here, she worked as a domestic maid in many prominent family households including the Derricks and Birds. In the mid-1950s she decided to leave domestic work behind and work for herself.
She began by selling trinkets and other goods out of a suitcase. She trudged through many villages, from Tyrells to English Harbour, and from Crabbe Hill to Urlings. In so doing, she gained hundreds of clients, many of whom later sought her out for her wisdom, insight and help in dealing with life’s many difficulties and challenges.
She also served as a sort of counsellor to many generations of families. Her advice and thoughts have uplifted, inspired and motivated, and given real help to many with whom she interacted and those who read her book.
Her favourite foods are ground provisions, pepperpot, lettuce and citrus fruits. She doesn’t like to eat too much meat and believes that the fact that she keeps moving from “morning till night” has helped her to attain health and long life.
For over 70 years she has been a committed convert in using multivitamins and herbal supplements on a daily basis. Even now, at 106, she still uses a “handful of supplements” in the morning and a “handful” at night.
One of her favourite sayings is that “while most people kneel and pray, I walk and pray”. This has been the foundation of her life because she believes that we shouldn’t just wait on God … because “He helps those who help themselves.”
Ms Motley has one son, Dr Marcus Mottley, two grandsons Tijani Mottley and Yohance Mottley, and one great granddaughter, Leigha Mottley. She is a member of the Roman Catholic Church which she attended every Sunday for decades of her life in Antigua.