STERLING HEIGHTS (WWJ/AP) – If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, then Warina Zaya Bashou should have owned an orchard.
The 111-year old Sterling Heights woman — just sworn in as a U.S. citizen — credits her longevity to drinking lots of green tea. She also thinks avoiding the doctor helped her out.
A native of Iraq, Bashou took the unusual step of becoming a citizen more than a decade after her 100th birthday. She took the oath of citizenship at her home Friday afternoon surrounded by about a dozen family members and friends.
In her comfortable home on Charity Street, the tiny woman born in 1900 was all smiles as a U.S. judge told her what she’s been hoping to hear for years — she is an American citizen.
Bashou may not be able to speak a word of English, but has lived here since 2003. Her cousin Pam Shamami translated the citizenship news into her language of Chaldean.
And while Bashou is old, she’s not the oldest person to become naturalized. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services spokeswoman Marilu Cabrera said she was born in 1900 and was the second oldest person on record to be naturalized. The oldest was 117 years old.
WWJ’s Kathryn Larson was at the ceremony and will have reports throughout the afternoon.
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