Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Books by Jamaican authors for children 8-12 years (Updated)

This is an update of my post of October 2012.
Children who read for pleasure improve their word knowledge, grammar and reading comprehension far beyond what is taught in formal classes. This holds true whether they are reading stories about children like themselves or different from themselves. Why then should we be concerned that books about children like themselves are available for their reading pleasure?
In a blog post in October 2012, Diane Browne wrote 
 “But where is the embracing of the Caribbean literature by the education system so that we may read about ourselves more often than we do, not only in set books, but just in the library at school? Do we think that our children can learn anything from the books being written now? Have our adult gatekeepers read the books and recognized their worth, not only as entertaining stories, but also as self validation, points from which discussion may arise in a young people valiantly searching for themselves, as all young people do? Books allow them to work through their fears, their sources of joy, their experiences, to try on various selves. It would seem a good thing if these selves could be related to their own lives.”
Summer Edwards said in a 2012 blog “Now that I am older and have had a chance to read children's literature from many cultures, I realize that the children's books that have truly made a difference in my life - both my child life and my adult life- are the ones where the stories were set in West Indian places, with characters that talked and looked like me and knew the same things I did.”
In her Reflection on Jamaican children reading  Curdella Forbes wrote “Access to fiction written specifically for Caribbean children and teens is still extremely limited for most Jamaican children…Jamaican fiction outside of the school curriculum is unknown to many children. Some parents who would love to purchase nonschool books for their children cannot afford the cost. Those who can, have extensive options offered by the distributing giant Scholastic. With multiple outlets in the Caribbean, Scholastic leaves its local competitors far behind.”
To help those who would like to purchase books by Jamaican authors, I have updated  my list  and added some links. 

List of books by Jamaican Authors
1. Flying with Icarus  by Curdella Forbes                  2003 (Walker Books)

Carlong Sand Pebble Series  available in Sangsters Book Stores
2. Jojo’s Treasure Hunt by Cherrell Shelley-Robinson           2003 (10-12)
3. Freedom Come by Jean Goulbourne                                  2002 (10 -12)
4. Island Princess in Brooklyn by Diane Browne       2011 (10-14)
5. Bernie and the Captain’s Ghost by Hazel Campbell          2010 (10-12)
6. Tek Mi! Noh Tek Mi by C. Shelley-Robinson et al            2008 (10-14)
7. Every Little Thing will be All Right by Diane Browne 2003 (8-10)
8. Little Island - Big Adventures by Maria Roberts-Squires 2007 (12-14)
9. Jenny and the General by Jean D’Costa                 2006 (8-10)
10. Miss Bettina’s House by Hazel Campbell                        2004 (8-10)
11. Ash the Flash by Hazel Campbell and Nattalie Gordon   2014 (10-12)

Published by LMH,  available at outlets supplied by Novelty Trading.
12. Juice Box and Scandal by Hazel Campbell
13. Tilly Bummie by Hazel Campbell
14. Ramgoat Dashalong by Hazel Campbell
15. Goat Boy Never Cries by Hazel Campbell
16. Be-All-You-Can-Be: Yalena and the Spelling Bee by Lil’ Island kids
17. Fly Away Home and other Caribbean Stories by Andy Mead
18. Project Climate Change by Petre Williams-Raynor
19. Inner City Girl by Colleen Smith-Dennis
20. Saving Joe Louis by Isabel Marvin

By Diane Browne
21. A Tumbling World - A Time of Fire
22. Cordelia Finds Fame and Fortune. Now available as an ebook
23. The Ring and the Roaring Water

By Linda Gambrill (Beenybud Stories)
24. Miss Tiny (7- 9)
25. A Boy Named Neville (7 - 9)

Island Fiction Series (Macmillan Caribbean 2009) available at outlets supplied by Novelty Trading and on Amazon.
27. Delroy in the Marog Kingdom by Billy Elm  2009 (9-14)
28. Night of the Indigo by Michael Holgate  2009 (12-15)

29. Blue Mountain Trouble by Martin Mordecai 2009 (8-12) 

By Cedella Marley
31. One Love (2011)
32. Every Little Thing (2012)

33. A Jamaican Storyteller’s Tale by Lorrimer A. Burford ( 2005)

By Suzanne Francis Brown
34. The Mystery of the Golden Table (Arawak Publishing)
35. Searching for Pirates. A Port Royal Adventure (Arawak)
36. Marcus Garvey. (Suzanne Francis-Brown/Jean-Jacques Vayssieres)(Ian Randle Publ)
37. The Mermaid Escapade (E-Published, Kindle, 2013) 

38. By Helen Williams ‘Delroy and the Marog Princess’ (self-published e-book sequel to Delroy in the Marog Kingdom).

The following stories were written longer ago (‘70’s,’80’s and ‘90’s). They are probably better known than more recent publications, because many of them were on school book lists.
By James Berry
40. Ajeemah and His Son – Harper Collins1993 (8-up)
By Everard Palmer
41.  A Cow Called Boy 1972 (6-10)
42. The Sun Salutes You (Republished by Macmillan Caribbean 2007) (8-12)
43. My Father Sun-Sun Johnson 1974 (8-12)(Republished by Macmillan Caribbean 2012)
44. Cloud with the Silver Lining 1987 (8-12)(Republished by Macmillan Caribbean 2011)
By Jean D’Costa
46. Escape to Last Man Peak
By Andrew Salkey (all reprinted by Peepal Tree Press 2011 in the Caribbean Modern Classics  Series) (12 - up) 
47. Drought (Oxford 1966; )
49.  Riot
50. Hurricane
By Vic Reid (1913 - 1987)
51. Sixty-Five (1960), London: Longman.
52. The Young Warriors (1967), London: Longman.
53. Peter of Mount Ephraim (1971), Kingston: Jamaica Publishing House.
54. The Jamaicans (revised edition 1978), Kingston: Institute of Jamaica.
55. Nanny Town (1983)
56. The Horses of the Morning (1985)
57. The Leopard

In response to comments, I have added the following:
By Geoffrey Philp
58. Grandpa Sydney's Anancy Stories   There is also a Kindle edition 
59. Marcus and the Amazons (an e-book)
60. The Christmas Dutch Pot Baby (an e-book)
By Renaee Smith
61. The Great Compost Heap

If anyone reading this post knows of, or has written other stories for 8 -14 year-olds, I would be most grateful if you would let me know.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Visit to Rastafari Indigenous Village

Montego River
I’ve been hearing about this for a while and recently had the privilege of visiting there. Arthur Newland greeted us in the Montego Bay River Gardens and led us across the Montego River at the fording.
After crossing, we walked beside the river, then through the trees, up a steep path which led us to an open, grassy area with a fire in the centre. This fire is not used for cooking, but is a symbol of change.
Tebah playing drum at A-dZiko's book-reading at Fontana
   Along with other visitors, I was introduced to Rastafarians busy making drums, Golden Ankh and Tebah, whom I had met at Adziko’s book launch, when he played the drum before she read from “All Over Again”.
   Firstman then told us some of the history of and symbols used by the Rastafari. The movement began in the 1930’s after the coronation of Haile Selassie as Emperor of Ethiopia. Leonard Howell was among a group of men of African descent, who, from their study of certain passages in the Bible, acknowledged Haile Selassie to be the Messiah. Howell’s followers came from living conditions unsuitable for human beings, but they did not demand that the British provide better conditions. Rather, they sought freedom of spirit and had the intention of returning to Africa. In spite of this, they came into conflict with the law. Howell organized wide-scale recruitment and became the head of a communal society at Pinnacle, near Sligoville in St. Catherine, which is even now, in 2014, under threat of being taken away.   
The Ankh
Although Bible passages are the source of much inspiration for the Rastafarian movement, not all symbols of the Christian Church accepted. The cross, being a symbol of death is not embraced.  Firstman showed us their symbol, the Ankh, used in ancient Egypt to signify life. The loop at the top represents the womb, and the part below it the penis. The crossbar represents children.  The trinity in various forms, such as mother-father-child, heat-air-water, and sun-moon-stars, is another symbol. The Rastafarian colours are red, gold and green, representing blood, the sun and life respectively.
We were treated to delicious fresh fruit - pineapple, papaya, banana and orange - served on a bamboo plate. Firstman told us that Rastafarians are vegetarians, and showed us some of the vegetables they eat, which are grown on land around the village. They also avoid salt.
Rastafarians take pride in their life-style to maintain healthy bodies, minds and spirits, but, like all of us at times, they succumb to illness. However they do not treat themselves with Western medicine; rather they rely on the healer’s knowledge  of medicinal plants and how to use them. The healer of the village showed us the herb garden and told us about their healing properties:  Aloe Vera is used to alleviate sunburn, and is made 
Aloe Vera
into a drink which cleanses the kidneys and the intestines; Broom Weed is a diuretic and is used for heart complaints; Sarsaparilla (known as an aphrodisiac), is used as a blood purifier and for gout; Fever Grass is useful for colic, flatulence and diarrhea as well as for fevers; Noni boosts the immune system and reduces inflammation and is useful in the treatment of arthritis; Marigold is used in the treatment of colds, fevers, coughs, wounds, and infections. Ginger, Rosemary and Basil are popular seasonings which also have their medicinal uses. Ginger is anti-nausea, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral. Basil lowers cholesterol. Rosemary is good for digestive and circulatory problems.
About the Labyrinth 
The Labyrinth
For spiritual well-being and meditation, there is the Labyrinth. It represents a partial journey towards our core, step by step, breath by breath. We walked between the bamboo posts, seeming to retrace our steps, but in fact being led to the centre. Although Marijuana is used by Rastafarians for meditation and to bring about a feeling of spirituality, it was not mentioned, as it is still against the law in Jamaica to be in possession of it.
      Following our walk through the Labyrinth, we returned to the meeting place where the drummers played and sang for us. They made this an interactive experience, instructing us in how to play the drums. 
Our final stop was at the gift shop, where we could purchase jewelry and other craft items handmade by the Rastafarians in the village.

     Since people all over the world are interested in the Rastafarian Movement, the opportunity given to visitors to go to the Rastafari Indigenous Village is a welcome addition to slate of activities that tourists can choose from. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Making solar energy a viable option in Jamaica

The high cost of electricity continues to afflict every business and individual in Jamaica. Failing to encourage solar solutions because they would affect the bottom line of JPS is a short-sighted approach. In my letter to the Daily Gleaner, (below) published on June 5, 2014, I recommended net-billing as a win-win option for JPS and customers. However, it didn’t recommend how we could solve the peak demand dilemma.   I’m now suggesting that peak demand for electricity could be reduced by the National Water Commission using more solar generated electricity, produced by individual customers with net-billing, who send electricity to JPS during the day.
NWC is the single largest consumer of electricity in the public sector, accounting for approximately 47% of public sector energy consumption. The average monthly electricity consumption for the NWC is approximately 15,000,000 kWh, and it spends approximately J$280 million per month on electricity. They have the option of pumping water to tanks situated on higher ground during the day, which would flow by gravity during the night. In other words, they can convert solar energy into potential energy for use at night, so they wouldn’t have to use electricity during the hours of peak demand.
Not being an engineer, I don’t know about the practicality of turning pumps on and off, but since it is done in times of water shortage, it must be possible. Where NWC doesn’t have storage facilities, individuals could be provided with black tanks, which many people already have, if that would be a more practical option than building new storage facilities.  The inconvenience of having reduced water pressure during the hours of peak electricity demand would be offset by the lower cost for both electricity and water.

The rationale for net-billing is set out in this letter:
Dear  Sir,
With reference to your headline article, “Solar Power Risk” in the Daily Gleaner of June 3, I think that our policy decisions in relation to electricity should be based on long-term considerations, such as the amount of foreign exchange spent on fossil fuels, and the threat of global warming, rather than on return on investments.
My initial observation is that we have failed to capitalize on the opportunities provided by solar energy. Neither JPS nor OUR have educated the public on the win-win situation which is possible with net-billing. More people might be interested in applying for net-billing if the application process were quicker, and the steps involved, detailed instructions for which are given on JPS website, were less onerous.  Most people are unaware that you do not need batteries to run a solar system if you have a grid-tie with JPS. In fact, going that route is more environmentally friendly and less expensive as shown by the calculation below.
On the whole, companies selling solar systems encourage purchasers to buy batteries. Their pitch is that you can cut your electricity bills and even get off the grid entirely. They also tell you that JPS pays you only half of what you pay JPS per KWH, which is true, but they don’t tell you that batteries would cost more. Also, most people use more electricity in the summer than in the winter. To get off the grid entirely, one would have to install sufficient panels to supply one’s summer needs and then one would have excess in the winter. It would be better to be able to send the excess to the grid in the winter and draw from JPS if necessary in the summer.
      My calculation is based on a monthly average of 200 KWH being sent to JPS in the day, and drawn from JPS at night. (It does not include the excess amounts being sent or drawn). Nor does it take into account escalating costs. I make the optimistic assumption that a battery bank will last for ten years.
Without solar panels
200 KWH x Ja$40 = $8000 monthly x 12 = $96,000 annually x10 years = $960,000.00
With solar panels and net billing (cost corresponding to half of $40.00)
200 KWH x $20 =    $4000 monthly x 12 = 48,000 annually x 10 years = $480,000.00
Savings: $480,000.00
With batteries, no net-billing, cost would be $0, but
Cost of 16 batteries @ $40,000.00 each with life expectancy 10 years max = $640,000
In contrast, as Mr. John Kistle states, JPS would be faced with the challenge of providing everybody with electricity at peak hours after sunset, or on overcast days. Some of that generating capacity would have to be turned off at peak sunshine hours, thus reducing the return on whatever investment was made in a new power plant.  However, solar power would cut down on the amount of fuel needed to run the plant.
Given the importance of the cost of electricity to all of us in Jamaica, perhaps there are some other things we can do. Could there be a consensus, for example, on turning off our fridges during peak hours? Or JPS charging different rates at peak hours?
I think that all stakeholders need to be involved in making these hard decisions.

Yours truly,
Helen Williams

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Environment v. Development

Slash and burn farming, Westmoreland, Jamaica
In response to 'Jamaica Blog Day' here are the ruminations  of a former biology teacher 
on 'Environment v. Development'.
     The human species, Homo sapiens, is one of the most successful species on planet earth, that is if you measure success by ability to live almost anywhere on earth and for young ones to have the expectation of living to average old age. However, if you measure success by the length of time a species has remained unchanged, humans cannot compare with the chambered nautilus, which has been around for 500 million years, and the horseshoe crab 445 million years. Humans in their present form have been around for about one million years and are unlikely to be here for another 499 million years, the way things are going. If you measure success by numbers, we cannot compare with ants which E.O. Wilson has estimated at 10,000 trillion with a combined weight more than the combined weight of all humans. Actually, it isn’t fair to compare the one species of humans with the many species of ant, but for an individual ant species, the numbers would still be impressive. If you measure success by length of life, humans cannot compare with the bristle cone pine which can live for 5000 years, or giant tortoises - over 200 years, or Ming the clam which reached 507 years, before humans killed it trying to find out how old it was. If you believe that Methuselah lived for 969 years, we have certainly regressed, as nobody lives that long nowadays.
     The success of the human species can be attributed to the use of tools, agriculture and fire. These have enabled us to live almost anywhere on the planet, by altering the environment. Instead of having thick fur coats and depositing insulating layers of blubber which enable other animals to live in cold climates, we have built houses and heated them. Instead of hunting and gathering as in the early years of man’s existence, we grow crops and herd animals. There is evidence of agricultural practices going back ten thousand years, so for that long man has been altering the environment. However, the last two hundred years have seen massive developments in agriculture, with machines used to clear vast tracts of land, to prepare it for planting and for harvesting of crops; the manufacture of fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides; and the production of higher yielding crops. These developments have resulted in better nutrition for millions of people, which, coupled with advances in medicine which have reduced infant mortality rates and extended life expectancy, have led to a population explosion.
     The first agricultural practices resulted in a surplus of food, which resulted in a division of labour. Not everyone had to grow their own crops, so people were available to do other things, including building. This in turn led to the construction of cities and the development of civilizations.  We have been brought up to believe that civilization is a ‘good thing’. However, civilization concentrates power in the hands a few individuals, giving them control over other human beings and over the environment. Many people have benefited, but vast numbers, from the dawn of civilization until today, endured and are still enduring deprivation. At all high points in the expansion of Western Civilization there were slaves. The ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman Civilizations also depended on slavery.
     Another pervasive aspect of civilization is war, which can hardly be considered to be a civilized activity, and is one of the most anti-environmental endeavours that man undertakes. In the last three hundred years, and more so in the last hundred, with the development of weapons of mass destruction, mankind faces the possibility of total annihilation. There is no such thing as a limited nuclear war. The products of burning resulting from any nuclear war would  result in a ‘nuclear night’. Sunlight would be blocked from the planet for so long that all plants would die. Being aware of these negative effects of civilization, individuals have informed others and led movements, such as the ban-the-bomb protests and anti-Vietnam War demonstrations, to discourage those in power from exposing all of us to these dangers.
     Other not quite as harmful results of human practices have been highlighted by individuals and groups, and a stop has been put to them. In nineteenth century Britain, the pollutants spewed out by factories resulted in smog and damaging air quality. Clean Air Acts controlled this. Unfortunately, building taller factory chimneys, so that the pollutants blow further away, results in acid rain causing destruction of forests, and damage to life in lakes and rivers. Legislation to control acid rain is slow in coming.
 Rachel Carson, in her book ‘The Silent Spring’ explained, to the layman, the effect of the insecticide DDT on the reproduction of birds. The concentration of DDT in the food chain would have ended with us poisoning ourselves, so DDT is now banned. Cod fishing, with more sophisticated equipment, in the North Atlantic (800,000 tons in 1968), nearly wiped out all the cod, so in the early 1990’s a complete ban on cod fishing was introduced. The expected recovery has not taken place.
     All development impacts the environment in some way, but given the intelligence we possess as human beings, we are able to assess impact and predict outcomes. We also have the capacity to disseminate this information to educate and inform large numbers of people. What we are not so good at is having the will to make change, especially if one is a politician and the change is not popular.
     In Jamaica, those of us who have cars would be loathe to part with them, and we are grateful for good roads, although internal combustion engines and road building are damaging to the environment. Those who don’t have cars aspire to car ownership, meanwhile utilizing public transport. We bemoan the cost of gas instead of asking ourselves whether we could travel less. Children attend schools far from their homes, while near their homes, schools are under populated. Many other developments, such as the construction of hotels are popular because they provide employment both in the construction phase and when they are operating. However, the environmental damage which some of them cause is irreversible.
     Other developments such as the Hunts Bay Power Plant and the Montego Bay Freezone have severely damaged fish breeding grounds. In addition, Jamaica’s waters are overfished, and the large numbers of fishermen are catching fewer and smaller fish, but efforts at improving fish stocks have been limited rather than drastic. The fishermen themselves are aware of the problem, but few have an alternative source of income. Deforestation is a serious problem, but continues in spite of laws to prevent it. It is hard to catch a man cutting down a tree, which he is able to turn into charcoal or sell quickly. The same people who cut down the trees are among the first to demonstrate because of lack of water or poor roads, both of which result from water running off hillsides too quickly after they are denuded of trees.
     An enlightened leadership with a well-informed followership could do more to prevent environmental degradation in Jamaica, by looking at long-term consequences of choices for development. There are many people with knowledge about the environment, and several, who are highly qualified to do so, disseminate information. There are others, some of them in leadership positions, who not only fail to listen to these experts, but describe them in the most derogatory terms. They misconstrue what they say for the purpose of misleading less knowledgeable people. They say that the environmentalists are more interested in preserving lizards than in people getting jobs. What they fail to realize is that what is bad for the lizard today will be bad for human beings tomorrow. The discussion becomes fogged by the misconception that one has to choose between development and environment, instead of between  the type of development which would have the minimal environmental impact, and one which would have more.
     Jamaica isn’t the only country making unwise decisions. Worldwide, one of the biggest threats to our planet is global warming, which, although having its naysayers, is generally accepted. We know what should be done - cut down the carbon footprint of every one of us - but again it is the will that is lacking. Increasing carbon dioxide levels are likely to cause acidification of the seas, which could threaten even the chambered nautilus with extinction. Will unwise choices eventually lead to the extinction of Homo sapiens, too? Or will the knowledge that we have about how we have damaged our planet enable us to restore the balance before it’s too late?

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Western Union's Reading Week in Montego Bay

Mrs. Tanya Fraser-Martin with a Gr 5 class
    Since 2010, I have taken opportunities to read from 'Delroy in the Marog Kingdom' at selected schools during Western Union's Reading Week. Because St. James had been the featured parish in 2013, no school had been chosen for 2014. However, they were happy that I volunteered to read, and that I chose Chetwood Memorial Primary as the venue. On Tuesday, April 8, in the afternoon,  I was joined by Mrs. Tanya Fraser Martin of Western Union's Montego Bay office. She is the Business Network Manager responsible for WU agents in Trelawny, St James and Hanover in Jamaica.  
    Between us we were able to read to four classes.
    I read excerpts from 'Delroy in the Marog Kingdom' to two grade 5 classes, one after the other. As usual, I got an enthusiastic response to my presentation which began with putting the frog in the pot.
   Meanwhile, Mrs. Martin read 'Slater Minnifie and the Beat Boy Machine' from "Flying with Icarus" by Curdella Forbes to another grade 5 class. The story is about a new boy in the class and a gang of bullies. Of the experience, Mrs. Martin said "They really loved the story and responded well to my questions. They listened intently, showed keen interest and I thought the story was ideal and relevant to their every day lives. The Teacher had a good command of the class. I enjoyed reading to them." Then she went to a grade 6 class to read from Diane Browne's "Island Princess in Brooklyn", the chapter about Jamaican's getting together to watch our athletes on TV.  

We also spoke to each class about the importance of reading stories for pleasure:
  1. Reading improves vocabulary, grammar and comprehension.
  2. Children who read 5 or 6 books in the summer holidays perform better in the following year than those who don't.
  3. Reading stimulates brain development.
  4. Reading improves performance in math... yes, math!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

JCDC Creative Writing Exhibition at St. James Parish Library

Dorothy Noel, Guest Speaker

The JCDC Creative Writing Exhibition Tour Official Opening took place at St. James Parish Library on April 3, 2014, with a small but appreciative audience. The schools present were Naz Prep and Herbert Morrison Technical High, with their teachers. Other schools which had confirmed their attendance didn’t put in an appearance, much to the disappointment of the hard-working organizer and Chairman of the function, Ms. Natalie Morris. After her opening remarks, she introduced Ms. Joan Pinkney, Licensing and Membership Manager of JAMCOPY, who brought greetings and explained the purpose of JAMCOPY
Joan Pinkney
Then came samples of creative writing. I read an excerpt from my silver-medal winning novel “The Last of the Marogs” in which Delroy travels through time and finds himself in a Taino village, at the beginning of the sixteenth century. It is the last book of the trilogy which began with “Delroy in the Marog Kingdom”.
Dario Shields
Dario Shields read an excerpt from Ghetto Born, God Raised, a book inspired by his mother and his circumstances. He hopes that through reading the book, persons will learn lessons about life and themselves. A student from Naz Prep read a poem by fellow student, Zari Gourzong. 
Mikail Clarke

Mikail Clarke, Grade 10 student at Cornwall College, a winner in the JamaicaVision 2030 essay competition, recited the poem “Mi Black, Mi Proud”.  He is also Junior Mayor of Montego Bay. Although young, his bearing, self-confidence, acting ability and awareness definitely qualify him for this position. 
Natalie Morris asking for more 'Open Mike' participants

                 The guest speaker was Ms Dorothy Noel, retired Publishing Manager at Carlong. She gave a wide-ranging address entitled “You can be a writer, too”, and began by quoting Indian Film Director, Mira Nair’s famous line, “If we don’t tell our stories, who will?” People should also write to develop self-confidence and as an outlet for artistic expression, as did Ben Carson, the famous neurosurgeon, in his book “Gifted Hands”. Then she outlined the qualities of a writer for the 5 categories in the JCDC Creative Writing Contest - poetry, short stories, novels, plays and essays.
All writers, she stated, have fertile imaginations, have a voice, edit and rewrite, read good books and are well read. Reading helps writers to see how celebrated authors use language and themes. For short stories and novels, Ms Noel recommended Diane Browne and Hazel Campbell, Jamaican children’s writers who have been published by Carlong. Her mention of Olive Senior’s “Summer Lightning” prompted me to reread stories in the anthology of that title.
For poetry, Ms Noel praised Kei Miller, whom she described as Jamaica’s best young poet. She urged us to read his new collection “The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion”, which illustrates the way in which a poet reaches for deeper levels of meaning. In relation to plays, the writer must bear in mind that the script is to be performed and therefore requires directions as well as dialogue. In order to maintain interest, the rhythm should vary. She also stressed the importance of having others read our work, and reiterated the point that writers need to edit and rewrite.
      After Ms. Noel’s address, and the Chairman’s closing remarks, we all moved to the entrance hall of the library where the Exhibition was set up. Ms. Morris then declared the Exhibition open. 

Naz Prep students reading award-winning poems

Opening of Exhibition

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Mountambrin Piano Recital - Mikhail Johnson

Nestled in the cool, rain-blessed hills of Westmoreland is Mountambrin, the home of Dr. Russell Gruhlke -  optometrist/farmer, Canute Gruhlke - manager of the property, and Lesbert Lee - wood-carver. It consists of the original house where Alex Haley wrote "Roots", a number of individual cottages in unusual architectural styles, the Mountambrin Tower, with views of the Westmoreland Plains,  and the Theatre Gallery, all surrounded by luxuriant vegetation in lovingly tended gardens.
If you are a lover of Classical Piano Music, be sure not to miss the recital there by Mikhail Johnson on Easter Sunday, April 20, 2014 from 2-4 p.m.

To reach Mountambrin, on the road from Montego Bay to Sav-la-Mar, take a left turn at Whithorn and drive a little over a mile up the road to Darliston. Turn left along Toad Road, signed to Mountambrin.  If you doubt you are on the right track, don't worry. After a mile you will reach your destination. Admire the views and vegetation along the way.
After parking, take the opportunity to stroll around the gardens and admire the sculptures before the concert begins.
Garden with Westmoreland Plains in the distance

Mikhail will be playing:
Bach Partita No.1 in G major (Praeambulum)
Beethoven Sonata No.6 in F major (1st and 2nd movements)
Debussy Prelude (from Suite Bergamasque)
in addition to works by  Rachmaninov, Teleman and an Original Composition by Mikhail himself.

Admission JA$1800.00, All Tickets will be Available at the Gate
Sudents with Id. JA$500.00
Music Student with Id; Free
Meals and Drinks will be Available for Purchase - dinner US$14.00

On Saturday, March 22, Dr. Russell Gruhlke had an informal get-together  to show appreciation to  Gayle Rich, the person behind the Music at Mountambrin. For over ten years, she has been bringing musicians from the US to play at Mountambrin. (See 'The Boston Piano Quartet'.) 
Patrons and musicians and their families enjoyed an appetizing meal of chicken, both curried and baked, with fried breadfruit, yam and green beans grown on the property. Dessert was a delectable mix of star apple and jackfruit (a Mountambrin speciality) with ice-cream. The diners generated lively conversation and much laughter. 

Jose, Canute, Elaine & Dr Rus  enthralled (Gayle's photo)
Among those present were Dr. Russell Gruhlke, Canute Gruhlke, Lesbert Lee, Gayle Rich, Steven Woodham, Elaine and Jose Oxamendi Vicet, Helen and Winston Williams, Bunny Rose, Mikhail Johnson, Maria Jose Parker, her husband Geoff and their two young children.

After dinner, we were treated to a wonderful concert. First, Steve Woodham on violin, accompanied by Maria Jose on the pano played:

From Porgy and Bess By Gershwin:
     My Man's Gone Now
     A Woman is a Somtime Thing
     It ain't Necessarily So
Theme from Schindler's List by John Williams
Liebesleid by Kreisler
Nigun by Bloch 
In the Style of Albeniz  by Shchedrin
Nocturne by Chopin
Mazurka by Wienawski
Danza Espanola by Manuel de Falla, and, 
Milonga sin palabras by Astor Piazzola, dedicated to Bunny Rose, 

 The lovely music of these world-class performers was enhanced by the acoustics of the Theatre Gallery.
Dr. Rus and Gayle Rich

Then Mikhail Johson took to the stage. He played some of the same pieces which he will play on Easter Sunday, together with pieces he played at his debut recital. Mikhail, in addition to
being exceptionally talented, practices consistently to strive for perfection.  
For the finale, Bunny Rose, famous for his cabaret performances, sang a variety of favourite songs, accompanying himself on the piano.

Bunny Rose and Steven Woodham  (Nov 2012)