Friend In The Hills

As Professional Photographers we sometimes forget, we don’t always need fancy pro gear to take amazing images. Sometimes all we need are simple tools like point and shoots or mobile phones to capture memories. Sure they don’t have the level of control our pro gear has, but that’s where you have to start thinking creatively  

May 8th, 2016

bag packed and ready

Today I embark on a journey to find a friend, who physically isn’t lost, but in my mind she’s nowhere to be found. I’m also using this journey to get away from the city, take that much needed hiatus from work and all the stress living in Kingston presents you with. I’ve decided to leave my DSLR behind and solely document today using only my film camera and Phone. 


As I prepare for this journey to one harmonize myself with nature and also reunite with this friend of mine, certain thoughts fail to leave my mind; thoughts of curiosity. It’s been almost two years since I last saw you. Have you changed? Will I even recognise you? Or will you be the same as when I last saw you? I’m in for a thrill I hope. 


Just left home, I’m currently sitting in a bus heading to Papine. My mobile data is turned off for the day and I finally get some time to just write and reflect on certain things such as this Refugee Project im currently planning. 

I’m now leaving Papine in a bus filled with mostly women within the age range of 40-60. To no surprise they all have rags wiping away the sweat from sitting the hot bus for too long. It’s a rocky ride and this bus driver has an agenda to reach his destination faster than he did the last time. With the constant swings left to right along the winding hill side roads and the ever so often bumps on the head, writing is a pain on this back seat of the bus. I’m also here thinking to myself if it is that this chair is too high or I’ve grown because with every pot hole my head hits the ceiling of the bus. 

Buses parked at Papine

Rocky bus ride to visit a friend


“Young man is yah suh yuh must come off, si di church to the left  deh” I disembark the bus and started walking down a path. Taking in the foliage I hear a familiar voice shout “Jik” I look and see a face that hasn’t changed and a frame that hasn’t been altered.  

A quick hug and salutation and I was already taken away on a quick tour, brother after brother, Neighbour after neighbour I was being introduced. “So where is the farm?” I asked her and her response was “Just down here”. Swiftly down a narrow footpath through the trees, right behind her we arrive at the farm land. It was farm day and she and her fellow farmers were clearing the land of weeds that had overgrown the cabbage patch. Other plants being grown in the area are Banana, Coffee, Pineapple, mixed herbs and Cho Cho. 

“This way Jik, let me show you the river” I can hear it, can’t wait to jump in. She showed me a few of the spots she normal chills by so that later I could come back on my own if I wanted. 

Spot 1

Spot 2

Yup that friend I told you about is Ruby

Rare sighting of Ruby after 2 years.


We are now by up her house, I’m quite amazed at what she’s accomplished up here in the past two years, a farm and home with a loft for the bedroom, which she’s building from the ground up with her friend; Ricardo. Few aesthetic improvements and this house is easily going to be the best house in the hills. 

Though she may have retreated to a more rustic lifestyle away from the city, one thing is certain. Ruby is still rolling with the times, it’s great to know certain things don’t change. Another thing that didn’t change was her awesome cooking skills.  For brunch, Ruby whipped up some lentils stew with white rice, served with a few Rose apples. It was my first time experiencing the taste of this strange fruit. After two rose apples I was still unable to describe the distinct flavour of it. It didn’t taste horrible but that the same time it didn’t taste amazing either. 

Temporary kitchen

Staircase to bedroom loft

Still rolling with the times

Hands have to be clean when prepping food for the farmers

Lentil stew bubbling

Rice ready to be served


Rose Apple


Just as I was about to hit the riverside, the rain comes pouring down, I decided to sit back n chat with Ruby for a bit about her thoughts for the house, the projects I’ve been working and what we both been up to since we last saw each other. Also to talk about what other Regal brothers like Stone, Tayo, Matthew, Travis and Giark been up to. The rain eased up and we went outside, Ruby decided to pick some natural herbs for me, Peppermint and Rose Mary, can’t wait to make tea from these when I get home. 

Rain clouds rolling in

Light drizzling


Ruby enjoying a section Stone’s book while it rains.


While Ruby went down to take a bathe by the river I had a chat with her friend Ricardo about life in the hills, growing bananas, the beauty of the Mango season and the battle that always occurs when one talks about Mangoes; East Indian vs Julie Mango. Of course he would be an East Indian fan which opposes my love for Julie. I enjoy these small talks and getting to meet new people who live slightly different than I do in the city. 

Ricardo, Ruby and another resident/farmer


I’m Sitting in a shaded part of the river enjoying the rushing sounds it makes and the chattering Junebugs trying to cool down on a hot day. This is truly is a well needed hiatus. I think I might go down to the larger watering hole and  just take a nap there. Yes I’ll do that! 

Path to the river

Bamboo canopy over the stream, created the perfect spot to relax and meditate.

CHillin with my ugly toe shoes

Kind that where there is life there is death and vice versa. If you look closely you’ll see a bug that was nibbling away at the dead dragonfly.

Another cool spot along the river

Fascinating sky activity, This photo was taken at the second watering hole where I fell asleep.


After waking up from a nap by the river and changing my clothes it was time to part ways with this friend called Ruby. Not looking forward to the bus ride down or inhaling the polluted air of the city again but hey I had a fantastic time chilling with my friend and finding peace today. As I walk up the path with Ruby to the main road I look back at the house and everything I experienced today with her. 

Ruby’s house in the distance

The way home


While attempting to pick some raspberries I hear the bus flying around the corner, Ruby fanned it down. After another failed attempt to get the raspberries I quickly grabbed my bags, said my goodbye and I was off. 


That ended my days adventure I can’t complain at all. 

With this post I also want to wish Ruby, a Happy birthday! I wish you many many blessings! May the ancestors continue to watch over you. 

-The Visual Ninja, Jik-Reuben


Using Format