CLASP 2010: Jollification Time


Visit to Desert Green Organic Farm

Our field trip to Anguilla's Desert Green Organic Farm showed us first hand how organic agriculture is taking shape in Blowing Point. We met its owner, Mr. Leroy Browne, who showed us various crops and planting procedures. He explained the purpose of the farm, which is to reduce Anguilla's reliance on imported food. Mr. Browne also discussed the large number of health benefits of eating organic foods. He showed our group various plants he grows. These include thyme, spinach, beans, okra, and tomatoes.

Jollies divided into small groups to complete a number of tasks. The first group weeded the spaces between areas where crops are grown. Others mixed sea weed and dirt and spread it where plants would be grown. A third group made a list of the various insects and other creatures they could find on the farm. They observed butterflies, ants, bees, beatles, ants, flies, worms, lizards, hummingbirds, and a pond of turtles.

Our trip ended like a traditional jollification, with tasty food. We built a fire and cooked a large pot of soup. The soup was made with dumplings, corn and various other vegetables. 

Visit with Mr. Kenneth Richardson

Jollies visited Mr. Kenneth Richardson, local culture-bearer.  He explained and demonstrated the various steps in the process of making a thatch broom.  Mr. Richardson also showed how to extract fiber.  Our visit ended with Jollies and Mr. Richardson joining in a few rounds of the song "Peas and Rice."

Steps for Making a Thatch Broom

1. Pick thatch leaves, making sure to include about 6 inches of the branch of the leaf
2. Let the leaves dry for 2 weeks, keeping them from getting wet.
3. Find a piece of wood, at least 4 feet in length, that can be used as the handle of the broom.
4. Use a knife to remove the bark of a stick
5. Wet the stick to smooth it down
6. Place about 6 small branches of thatch one at a time on one end of the stick, overlapping them arund the stick. The outer pieces of thatch on each leaf can be pulled up with the thatch branches. All of the branches should be put on neatly and kept tight. This is called “setting the broom.”
7. Tie the small branches around the stick using twine.
8. Use several branches of larger thatch leaves around the small ones. Follow the same procedure used for the smaller ones.
9. Next tie a long piece of nylon rope to a tree.
10. Roll the broom, thatch end up, toward the tree while pulling the entire broom away from it. As you roll and pull, the nylon rope will twist around the broom. The rope should be at the base of the thatch. You just need to wrap the stick 4-5 times.
11. Cut the rope and then tie it tightly.
12. Pound a nail into the thatch and rope to make sure it will stay attached to the broom stick. Put one on each side.
13. Tie another piece of twine to hold the thatch together. It should be a few inches away from the tips of the thatch.
14. Lay the broom down and even up the ends using a machete.
15. Prevent the ends of the nylon rope from raveling by burning it.
16. Keep the bottom piece of nylon rope around the thatch until the broom is used for the first time.

Jollies' Interviews with Culture-Bearers

 Members of the 2010 CLASP Jollies team did interviews with parents, grandparents, and others to learn more about the tradition. They discovered that many elders in Anguilla today still remember the period when jollifications organized around cultivation were a common event. Jollies also learned that some people have never heard of jollifications.

What is a jollification? Jollification is an event that brings together people to work together. Participants usually gathered together for several hours, they would labor together and sing jollification songs as they worked. Those who participated did not receive payment for their work. Jollifications typically ended with food, drink, and socializing, sometimes even dancing. They contributed to solidarity and community.

Jollies found out that most jollifications were organized around activities such as clearing land, planting, culivation, and harvesting. Crops such as peas, corn, potatoes, and cassava were grown. These traditional jollifications are the type documented by the folklorist Alan Lomax when he visited Anguilla in 1962. However, Jollies also learned that these events were done for things like building and putting roofs on houses. Realizing this, our group came to see that the jollification tradition continues even today. Conversations with parents and others showed that the tradition is not as strong as it was in the past. It is in the spirit of reviving jollifications that the Jollies joined in to clean up the beach and do a little work at the Desert Green Organic Farm.   

JOLLIES:  Arts and Crafts

More Jollie Fotos