Children's Library Annual Summer Programme (CLASP)
The theme for this year's CLASP, organized by Anguilla Library Service, is "Jollification Time." At the centre of this year's programme is folklorist Alan Lomax’s 1962 visual and audio documentation of Anguillian traditions and culture.
Can the public library revive one of the island's most important cultural traditions? 'Jollification Time' is the theme of the 2010 Children's Library Annual Summer Programme (CLASP). It consists of a day camp for approximately sixty participants, ages 5-12. For two weeks children and teachers have learned about and pushed for the revival of jollification, Anguilla's historical tradition of communal work.
This year's CLASP students were divided into three teams: the Johnny Cakes (ages 5-7), the Shantees (ages 8-9), and the Jollies (ages 10-12). They completed interviews with parents, grandparents, and others who remember details about how and why people gathered for jollifications. Through these exchanges they came to better understand the jollification tradition.
The teams also learned about the work of Alan Lomax, the folklorist and anthropologist who visited Anguilla and other parts of the Eastern Caribbean in 1962. Lomax's collection consists of photos and audio recordings of Anguilla's culture-bearers. His work preserves local knowledge at the same time that it documents jollification songs and conversations about the tradition. Contemporary culture bearers like Ijahnya Christian, Bernice Fahie, Valerie Hodge, Hyacinth Hughes and Joan Carty added to the conversation. Each of the CLASP groups learned a traditional song and discussed its significance. They were used in the final performance and related jollification activities that were held for parents and members of the public on July 22nd.
Numerous activities associated with Anguilla's cultural traditions were part of CLASP 2010. In the area of music and games are May pole songs and dance, ring games, and shanties, old sea songs sung during the various stages of cultivation. In the area of crafts, the children have made items such as whistles, kites, banjos, and rollers. Remembering that no jollification would be complete without some tasty treats for the stomach, they also cooked Johnny cakes and salt fish, and brewed bush tea.
CLASP participants also met a Caribbean poet. Jamaican poet Yasus Afari visited the library where he discussed poetry and the importance of making informed decisions. Yasari read from one of his publications and led the 3 teams in a song.
Field trips qualify as another important part of the program. CLASP groups visited the Desert Green Organic Farm in Blowing Point, run by Leroy Browne, where they learned about local efforts to promote health and reduce the island's reliance on imported foods. Some children assisted with tasks such as weeding and the mixing of soil. Others planted lentils. It was a mini jollification exercise with pea soup and singing after the day's labour. The summer programme included a visit to Shoal Bay beach, where they did a beach clean-up before swimming. In addition, the Jollies visited Mr. Kenneth Richardson in West End, where they discussed and observed the various steps in making traditional thatch brooms.
The spirit of sharing and helping spread throughout the programme. It is hoped that it will permeate the entire island and let Anguilla be someday known as “Jollification wrapped in Blue.”