Lebawit Lily Girma is an award-winning writer, photographer, and blogger specializing in the Caribbean region. Her work is regularly published in major travel publications, including AFAR, CNN, Delta Sky, and Lonely Planet, among others. A self-professed "culture-holic," Lily left her native Ethiopia at age one, fast developing a passion for the expat life. In 2008, she ditched her US corporate law career for the road and created Sunshine and Stilettos— a travel photography blog showcasing authentic ways to experience the Caribbean, through culture and nature. Lily has since partnered with multiple travel brands and tourism boards, and also authors major print guidebooks on three Caribbean destinations, including Belize, the Dominican Republic, and Jamaica.
Working hard in Hanover, Jamaica — for Rough Guide to Jamaica 2018. Click on the image to pre-order.
I’ve had this work update post in mind for three months now. Life has been very, very busy, and 2017 was epic. The Dominican Republic has been my base now for three solid years. But this past year, I’ve enjoyed having a less-nomadic lifestyle, dealing more with messy closets than suitcases, writing from the same lovely apartment all year for the first time in ages (though, of course, I still traveled for work), and having a wonderful, supportive partner.
I’ve posted little here over the last year, but ironically, it was my most productive and successful year in travel media yet. I also dedicated plenty of time to nurturing my new, second blog on the Dominican Repulic, DRVisitor.com.
This year? Things are looking great as well.
I am truly grateful for the writing, photography, and long-term projects that have come my way in a variety of ways — from >>
A short ride up into the hills from Bluefields Beach brings you to Bluefields Organic Fruit Farm and Tours.
“Watch it! Stop–stop–stop!”
Keith rushes closer to where I’m standing, beside a small, prickly bush I had failed to notice at the start of our hike.
“Did I step on something? Agh! I stepped on a plant.”
“No, no, no, no, it’s more than that. It’s a scratchy bush. I should’ve warned you about that one.”
I feel an immediate burning sensation on my ankles, right above the sock line, but I don’t panic because Keith tells me it’s harmless.
The prickly bush that greeted me.
“It’s medicinal bush, but it scratches!”
The tingle continues but it’s bearable and I move on, knowing time is ticking and sensing a lot to discover with the farmer teacher I had just met.
“You can tell I’m not on farms that often,” I joked.
It was the first of many lessons on my two-hour tour of Keith’s farm — officially called the Bluefields Organic Fruit Farm, Vegetables, Herbs and Tours, located just an hour southeast of Negril, in the hills of Bluefields’ small coastal and fishing community. Lessons about fruits, medicinal plants, and the benefits of organic farming–all born out of a family’s passion and vision.
Meeting Keith Wedderburn, founder of Bluefields Organic Fruit Farm
When I first called Keith Wedderburn, at the suggestion of Diana McIntyre-Pike, renowned founder of community tourism in Jamaica and in the Caribbean, he immediately agreed to show me around his organic farm, and even offered to drive me there. We would meet on a Saturday morning at a—>