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This tag is associated with 4 posts

We should be making technology

I just lost the article I was typing in wordpress! Chrome crashed and its gone! The autosave did not save the latest version. The version I have spent the last 45 minutes typing. If it did save it i can’t get it back. This brand new Windows 8 “beat studio machine” failed me. Again!

You know when these things happen you need to go quickly to the lesson. Then it crossed my mind. What would an ideal personal computer be for me. I think it crossed my mind when I looked across to my Debian machine and felt that if I wanted to continue to write the blog post, I would have to be more serious and committed to making it a dedicated machine for that purpose. The Debian machine is a desktop though so I started to imagine my ideal laptop. Here is a list of things I came up with.

  1. A good Operating system. Stability is important
  2. A good software for writing
  3. A way to be efficiently divided into multiple use. Music production different from writing ( similar to profiles)
  4. Good battery life
  5. A big screen with clear display
  6. Space on the keyboard to type
  7. A keyborad that makes my hands feel good on it
  8. Firm but soft keys buttons
  9. Mouse separated into two parts( basic left right function)
  10. Keyboard and mouse sensitive to the touch
  11. No more than 200 gb internal storage
  12. Additional storage provided in a external drive pack so I can use my files in other places.
  13. A cd drive

Why is imagining the tech tools we use important?

How do we decide what technology should look like and what it should do? how can we play a part in the design of technology. What the availability of recyclable parts why don’t we design our own computers?

makerdaysflyer

Two week ago we started the ISL Maker shop or Maker labs. It is a partnership with Metabolic Foundation led by Christie and Tony who are in Jamaica to do community and environmental projects. Every Wednesday and Thursday from 3-7 pm we meet at the ISL and invite others to come and join us and make things.  So far our project list includes:

  1. A Solar Dehydrator
  2. A Window farm
  3. A Roof top Garden
  4. A multimedia station for Kids
  5. Chalkboard paint

And we keep adding to the list.

We repair and recycle phones,computers, or other electronic devices on some days as well.

Each week offers us some opportunities

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What have learnt from 5 months of working with Children?

 

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What have we learned from 5 months of working with children at the ISL? There are many considerations for working with children from “inner-city” communities in Jamaica and not all “intervention models” are suitable for children. It is important to document what are the successful ways that we can work with groups of children over a long period of time and establish these as model for discussing and critiquing.

We started in April one week after the first open day. We didn’t advertise. One child came and called some others and there we were a room full of children from the lane next to us. We allowed them space to play and we began to develop a after school programme that could engage them when they came. Within the first 4 weeks we noticed there would be some social dynamics we would have to deal with; there relationship to each other, how they related to us as newcomers to their community, manners discipline and respect. This was the first time we were doing this.  We took a break to reflect on some of the challenges we were having and attempted to reorganize.

What we tried to do differently

  • It was important to get the support of the parents. We had not met with the parents yet. One or two came around to see where there children were, said hi but there was no meeting so to speak. We didn’t know all the parents.  So we prepared registration forms and asked them to take it to their parents to get a signed agreement for them to come to the ISL. We gave them a date to return the forms hoping that we would then have at least made first contact and then we could request a meeting with the parents. Some took the forms and returned with them signed, some signed them themselves saying their parents didn’t have time.
  • We started to emphasize more drama classes. Of all the classes we had organized, technology, reading and drama. They responded very well to drama. We felt that drama could help us to help them work through some of the personal issues and group dynamics that seem to be affecting how they were interacting and how we were interacting with them.  We also saw where we could communicate several important ideas this way. They liked the singing, dancing and acting. So we increased drama time from one days to two days and we placed focus on this as our offering for the time being.
  • Ad-ziko had suggested a system where we could give them each time to come in and meet and talk or play, just spend time with somebody who was a mentor/volunteer or friend of the ISL. We had observed that some children behaved differently when they had more space to be by themselves and all of them seem to enjoy time when they could talk and share or just be in the space  uninterrupted or disturbed by the other children. We soon realized that space and time was something they always had to share and this created somewhat of a dysfunction, because it seemed it was never enough. We used the other days when there was no drama to facilitate this. This was an “open day” which we hoped would allow them and us to facilitate this idea.
  • On “open days” we experimented with playing music, while they worked or just hung out in the ISL. We had observed that it was difficult to keep quarrels to a minimum, when they didn’t have any activity to engage in so we played music to try to affect their mood and bring a kind of harmony within the space. This was something that they also responded well to. They would practice dance moves from drama class or sing together. They seemed to be generally more quiet or at peace when we played music. We played up-tempo music but not dancehall. Some Jazz and Micheal Jackson. Experimenting with sound was interesting because we found perhaps we could give them a feel of other energies through music from other spaces as opposed to the familiar dancehall.

 What we learned after this

  • Children cannot be a part of a programme by themselves if they live with a parent or guardian. They have to be instructed and mandated by the parent or guardian to attend. Their learning has to be supported in that programme.  Until this is the case ISL will be a space which children will visit occasionally and we may provide them with basic forms of assistance such as homework help as requested.
  • It takes a longer time to gain trust and work with children who do not have examples of respectful adult children interactions. We have to allow them to understand us in the best way they can. This can be a painful and difficult process.
  • There is a psychology about family and group dynamics which we have to be aware of.  While some children are more comfortable in groups, the behaviour within the group may create a false impression of who they are and what their interest is. Always make time to pay attention to this. Learn about each child that you are interacting. Even though they come as a group, they are individuals.
  • We need to understand fully the impact of the most dominant influences and environment in the child’s life.  The dominant example comes from home. There is what they believe is good right true or false. Allow time to learn and accept that before attempting to change that. As well as give them space to trust what we know as well as other ways of behaving.
  • For children with certain kinds of limited exposure all that we represent may not feel immediately comfortable to them. They may be told that what we represent is bad for them. for example, they fear that we will take them to Africa because they were told this by someone and have come less to the ISL because of it.
  • Treat them as their age not by the things that they do. Some children do interact like adults but it is important to remember that this is based on their socialization and they sill need space to be children.
  • Culture and Psychology are important words to understand and they are recurring. There is a culture in the community, the lane, the yard, the house and this creates a psychology, a way of thinking acting and doing which is so consistent. Awareness of the Culture and Psychology is the beginning of being able to work out a model or a plan for engaging with the children and their community.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time to replicate the “Sistren Theatre Collective” Model

Sistren

Sistren Theatre Collective began in 1977;

as an Independent Cultural organization of working class women who employed popular theatre techniques in their exploration and analysis of the social, political and legal condition and status of Jamaican women. Focussing particularly on poor black women, Sistren uses personal testimonies as a critique of a system, which discriminated against women on the basis of gender, class and colour.

http://www.groots.org/download/sistren.htm

 

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In 2014 Issues continue to face us, tensions and contradictions continue to rise and threaten our communities and the survival of our selves. Dialogue is important. Debate is important. The Sistren Theatre Collective has shown that its methods are relevant and make sense to us. It helps to delve in, understand, take action and recreate.

Beginning in the next few weeks we will be attempting to replicate and make use of popular theatre techniques to discuss ideas of leadership, community and resistance. We hope this is the beginning of spreading the model even wider.

 

whatdoescommunitydo

why don't we leave but where must we go

 

 

Dem call Bellevue pon mi bredren- Mental Health among inner-city yutes

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Dem call Bellevue pon mi bredren. Is a good yute, him love meditation like me, but when people nuh understand you, when dem nuh know weh u a do innah a life dem waan use yuh and treat u like how dem feel fi treat you.

My brethren always in a him house.  cause him innah him house people waan tek set pon him. more while him haffi stand up and defend himself.

One morning him just get up and seh him a sweep up out a road. while doing that him see police come fi him and seh dem hear seh him a gwaan wid a bag a tings. Him nuh really know a wah still but him seh come een we a guh check yuh out so when dem a talk to him dem see seh a one well educated yute, him reasoning ability different…

…..di people dem weh we deh roun if yuh nah do weh dem a do people look pon u different. dem feel like seh dem fi a live your life.  A nuff time dem tell me a go mad, dem a guh call Bellevue. Tru mi change mi usually bleach out, have nuff girls, mi different mi a tink bout how mi a go deal wid tings when mi yute dem come so dem nah guh haffi suffer like me.

mi know myself and mi know who me be. mi just waan see someting come a mi life. A nuff doctor me guh..

My dream enuh ….a just Marcus a lone can tell you bout it… him seh mek god and the star be the limit.

Dem all have anada bredren weh dem call  pon. it mash him up. a young yute dat. mi a tell u di truth mi nah call police pon nuh man or Bellevue and mek dem get injection, one a dem injection deh….

why somebody woulda waan mash up anada yute life?

Spiritual meditation, art and craft help me, mi exercise sometimes. mi deh roun yah from mi a 10 month old. roun yah a good place enuh but the people dem. a di people dem weh deh roun yuh.mi have some real brethren enuh but mi can count dem pon mi hand yah now.

ghetto yute have fi face lie hard. a week a go mi a work. mi a one yute weh do mi art and craft and ting and when nuh money nuh deh mi haffi go look some scrap iron. deh pon the road working mi have a knife weh mi use cleaning up di food weh mi a eat and ting. 2 police come hol mi wid a knife and seh yow yuh know seh dis can kill a man. mi tell him seh yow a work mi a work. dem carry mi guh a station and lock mi up……..

There is a bredren who comes to the ISL regularly. I think he likes the place. One day we were talking and he mentioned that it was quite common for community members to “call Bellvue pon yutes”.

Bellevue Hospital is Jamaica’s only mental health hospital.

“The evolution of mental health services in Jamaica started in 1840’s. The first designated area for the treatment of mental illness was constructed adjoining the present Kingston Public Hospital. The Jamaica Lunatic Asylum came into existence in 1861 at its present location at 16 ½ Windward Road Kingston. The hospital has had many name change and its name was changed from the Jamaica Lunatic Asylum to the Jamaica Mental Hospital in 1938. The name was again changed to the Bellevue Hospital in 1946.”

The Bellevue Hospital was established to provide care for mentally ill clients. The establishment of the hospital came out of a petition which was led by a private medical practitioner named Dr. Louis Bowerbank. This led to an enquiry the result of which was the establishment of a mental hospital for the custody and care of the mentally ill. The hospital has had a very rich and colourful history. The hospital has just over seven hundred patients. There are presently twenty three wards; the hospital is divided in acute, sub-acute, psycho-medical, mental subnormal, long stay, psycho geriatric and rehabilitative wardshttp://www.bellevuehospital.org.jm/about-us/brief-history

What alternatives do we offer youths from inner-city communities who are at risk of experiencing mental health problems?

One possibility could be establishing walk-in “art spaces or creative spaces”.

The ISL which is located near to the community of Allman Town for example could be open  during the days to give young men who are interested in art, a space to express and find community with other individuals with similar ideas, views, concerns.

Based on my conversation with this brethren, it is obvious that mental health is a problem in our communities and there is a need for more solutions to this problem. Sometimes yutes just want space.

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