I have found some secrets for growing older. Living in a botanical environment free of dirt and dust, pollution and noise is an ideal environment for growing older as have contributed greatly to the ageing of a 101 year old man, who is still going strong.

                     A mountainous landscape

The old man who lives in a mountainous village in the Akuapem Central District in the eastern region of Ghana, and did not want to be identified told me in a conversation that the above, coupled with the consumption of fresh vegetables and fruits have contributed greatly to his good health and are the secrets for his old age.

         Vegetables and fruits


I was told a similar story by a Ghanaian journalist who traveled to Israel in or around the year 2010. He had the opportunity to travel to a rural area in Israel and learnt that the residents of the area lived mainly on fruits and special vegetables. They did not consume meat of any kind or drank alcohol. He learnt that by that lifestyle, for the previous 40 years there had been no death in the area.

Upon much thought about my old man’s story which I have collaborated to that of the media man, I have concluded that the two stories have some things in common and can conveniently form the basis of my post for today. I have therefore chosen to share these secrets with you today.

Not all people live in mountainous areas or on flat plains or in forest areas or in temperate zones. People are born in different places on this earth and where one is born is normally where one is brought up and usually lives.

There are also people who are born somewhere but live the rest of their lives somewhere else due to a variety of reasons.

People migrate to find jobs and it is not just for the pleasure of travelling, no. It is due to the location of industries and availability of jobs.

Immigrants travelling to find jobs

No country in the world has an even distribution of industries across its length and breadth, so a lot of people migrate from their countryside to cities where most industries are sited in search of jobs to earn a living. This factor makes cities more populated and bring with it accompanying problems.


Of course one cannot live all his life at one location. You can’t remain up the mountains all the while if you are the grandson of the old man. It could be a bore so travelling is good.

Travelling makes you see what other places look like and how other people live their lives. Some travel across continents to seek greener pastures and learn great lessons from their travelling experiences. Others come from more advanced countries to the less advanced for the purpose of working or learning about different cultures and exotic things.

So whilst you are young you must find work to do. Whether you have to travel or not you have to work and it’s going to take you some 40 -50 years of hard work before you have some rest.

                             You must work

During these 50 or so years you will pass through most of the city’s negative experiences if you live your working life in one of the cities around the world. You know, not all cities are nice and clean.


                                         Modern city


What do I call negative experiences?

They are the disadvantages that come with living in the city like:

  • Breathing polluted air. Exhaust fumes from vehicle engines, industrial waste and scent from filthy gutters and garbage dumps all add up to pollute the air. Those who work close to motorways and main lorry roads are much at risk as they inhale small amounts of carbon monoxide daily.

To make some reference on this issue there were two separate incidents of death in Ghana in 2016 in connection with the breathing of polluted air. Both cases involved electric generators which were switched on in enclosed spaces where people slept, and breathing the fumes emitted by the machines resulted in the death of a total of 5 persons in two different nights.

  • Crime ridden. You can fall a victim to the activities of pickpockets or thieves or armed robbers at one point in your life.
  • Too much traffic. There is nothing more frustrating than having to be at a place at a scheduled time and be held up in traffic that moves at a snail pace. It adds to stress.
  • Too much noise. There is too much noise in the cities that disturbs your eardrums and subsequently your peace of mind.
  • Overcrowding. Due to influx of migrants and other visitors cities are always overcrowded.
  • City residents are unhelpful. They lack personal relationship with others. Each one is busily struggling for survival and there’s no time to stop and look at a neighbor. In some places one may not attend a social function of his next door neighbor.
  • By their nature cities are deficient in natural features. Open spaces are often encroached upon, especially in African cities.

                      Kintampo Waterfalls, Ghana




Cities have very strong positive sides that make residents proud of living in them but I am not going to enumerate them. Most residents are used to the luxuries of city life that any change like the one I am proposing is mere nonsense to them. But those who want to grow older must pay attention to my sensible nonsense.


After having passed through a lot of the above negative sides, when you go on retirement it is better to change your place of residence so that you enter an entirely new phase of life with the hope of growing older.


                      Enjoying retirement

From my conversation with the old man coupled with my remembrance of the Israeli story I have made the following recommendations for your consideration, whether you are young or old because the young shall grow too.


After spending about 40-50 years working in the city or elsewhere you must go on retirement and relocate to the countryside. The city is too noisy.

The reason is to get out of the hustle and bustle of city life and get a more serene environment to continue your life.

                                    A rural area

Build your house and live in an environment which has more of plants and trees, or just plant a lot of flowering plants around your house. By a process called photosynthesis plant leaves use sunlight to carry out a chemical reaction using carbon dioxide from the atmosphere (to manufacture plant food) and in the end produce enough oxygen back into the same atmosphere.

So when you are in such environment you have pure oxygen to breathe to heal every ailment that lurks around in your system. I hope you know that in hospitals special oxygen is administered to some patients who go into coma, or whose condition are critical, to help revive them.

By the photosynthesis process, carbon dioxide is used up thus purifying the air around and you breathe good, fresh air capable of prolonging your life.

Have you ever taken a stroll in any area with plenty of trees? Did you notice the coolness and freshness of the atmosphere, especially those of you in the tropics? There are some plants which emit sweet scent form their leaves or flowers to the surrounding atmosphere. That produces a sweet air and a refreshing environment that is irresistible to leave behind.

                    Aburi Botanical Gardens, Ghana

If you have never had this experience, try it for yourself. You can travel to the Aburi Botanical Gardens or the Bunso Arboretum both in the Eastern Region of Ghana to have this unique experience.  Botanical gardens are maintained at other places around the world.


Most of our sicknesses come from the food we eat. When we eat the wrong kinds of food the result is sickness. I learnt this from a Pathologist when he was advising people about health issues and factors that accelerate death, on a radio program and have kept it in my coconut ever since.

I remember he cautioned about consumption of oily and junk foods that had no vitamins in them.

My old man rarely got sick. That means he wasn’t eating any wrong foods to fall sick. He said he ate lots of fruits and vegetables. I don’t know how he prepared them but that was not my cup of tea.


I am not a dietician and can’t give guidelines on what types of food to eat or what ones to avoid eating at this instant. All that I am interested in telling you now is to take a cue from my old man to avoid eating junk food and remember to eat lots of fresh vegetables and fruits. They possess a lot of vitamins needed by the body for its maintenance and defense systems.

Older persons (60 and above) have to be mindful of their diet because of subtle changes in their bodies.

City residents may not have access to fresh green leaves due to transportation and delivery delays but it may not always be so. Same day deliveries from farms are possible.


I conclude this post by repeating the 2 things which I have mentioned all along and termed as secrets because people have a penchant to know what secrets are.

  • Live in a house with plenty of plants around it. If there are no plants, plant plants.
  • Eat lots of fruits and vegetables and avoid junk foods that will get you sick.

These shall help you to grow older with strength and vitality. Those who don’t know must learn from those who know.

Published by

Ebenezer Awuah

Ebenezer Awuah is a Diploma holder in Business Management and Administration from the Institute of Commercial Management [ICM] of UK. A former banker, now working as Administrator for Progressive Transport Owners Association [PROTOA-Ghana]. Formerly writing for P&P and Top Story, social newspapers in Ghana.

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