The Container is built, and it is now in use. So for the last five days of my Jamaican trip the emphasis shifts. We have some visits to make, and we need to complete the training for people to run The Container.
On May 1st, we have a 'quiet' day at The Container. Finishing up a few jobs around the place, and letting people come in and try-out using the equipment.
On May 2nd we had an invite to attend the UNESCO conference on press freedom at the Jamaican Conference Centre in Kingston. We had a table in the exhibition space to put up some information on The Container Project. I also bought along half of the Community-Linux Training Centre to give people an idea of the sort of services that the network in The Container provides. Some of the crew went into the conference. I'd already been involved in these issues before as part of a project with The Association for Progressive Communications, and didn't want a depressing day so I stayed with the stall.
UNESCO insisted on putting us all up in the Kingston Hilton Hotel. This was really wierd for me. I'd rather have taken the money for the project and carried on sleeping on Mervin's floor, but no deal on that. But me and Mike had a room on the 12th floor with a view over the east of Kingston.
That evening we had an invite to Roots FM, a radio station in Kingston. Desmond Green brought the crew on the show to talk about the project, and the relevance of new communications technologies to community development. It was a really good programme, and everyone present really enjoyed the show, and the wonderful welcome from Desmond and Roots FM.
The next day we briefly attended the UNESCO conference, but then went onto the 'Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre' for a meeting. Tower Street is one of Jamaica's main prisons. All the crew attended a meeting of inmates and prison staff to talk about reforming the process of justice and education in the prison system. It was also a chance to talk a little about the possibilities of starting an IT project within the prison's school. [Note: Three years after our visit a tech lab opened in the prison to give computer education to inmates!]
Later that evening we went out for dinner to Port Royale, on the spur of land south of Kingston. It used to be one of the major (and lawless) trading ports of the Caribbean until an earthquake dragged it under the sea. Now it's just a small fishing village with pulsing night life. We had chance to meet up with some of the supporters of the project, and talk about developing the concept in the future.
The next day we went back to The Container to run a training session for the volunteers. This mainly looked at how to run the network, starting it, stopping it, and how to look after information on the system.
Monday was mine and Lisa's last day at The Container (Camille and Mike left the day after us). Two guys came along to assess the educational programme of the project on behalf of one of the funding bodies. We also did a little more training on using the computers. But Monday night we had a big party to celebrate the completion of the computers (although the project itself only just beginning).
And that was it. Tuesday I took an afternoon flight from Kingston back to the UK, arriving back home on Wednesday afternoon.... wow!, what a trip!