Author Archives: Lebawit Lily Girma

Lebawit Lily Girma is an award-winning, Ethiopian-American travel writer, photographer and author of several Caribbean guidebooks for Moon Travel Guides, including Moon Belize, Moon Belize Cayes, and Moon Dominican Republic (October 2016). Her work focuses on Caribbean culture and adventure, and has been published in AFAR, CNN Travel, BBC, Delta Sky, The Guardian, Sunday Times Travel Magazine, and Every Day With Rachael Ray, among many others. Lily is also the 2016 recipient of the Marcia Vickery Wallace Award for Excellence in Travel Journalism for her Caribbean coverage, from the Caribbean Tourism Organization. Lily calls herself a “culture-holic”–she speaks four languages fluently and has lived in Cote d’Ivoire, England, Jamaica, Belize, the Dominican Republic and traveled to some 30+ countries around the world. Last but not least, she is a former corporate attorney who ditched her Washington DC office for the road in 2009 to pursue her dream of becoming a storyteller. Lily holds a Bachelor of Arts in French and Spanish (summa cum laude) from the University of Maryland at College Park, and a Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law.

Tasting Sweet Jamaica at Bluefields Organic Fruit and Vegetables Farm

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—>

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Dushi Magic or Why You Should Experience Curaçao

Willemstad by night – walking over the Queen Emma Bridge. ©Lebawit Lily Girma

“You either love Curaçao, or you hate it!” said Frans, the driver and guide from my guesthouse, as we began our hike along a craggly clifftop. An intense sun whipped our faces, while the sea breeze cooled us sporadically and waves splashed furiously our way as if trying to reach us.

Love is more of what I felt for Curaçao after glancing at the immigration arrival form postcard that the flight attendant handed me on the flight. With a pink and white background, one side requested my basic traveler data while the other promised: “Life is better at the beach.”

Dushi! I said under my breath–the local papiamentu word for sweet that I had read was popular on the island.  I wished all of my Caribbean destinations had the same delightful approach to entry.

The next two weeks I spent breathing, tasting, and feeling Korsou confirmed my initial instincts.

When gregarious Frans picked me up, I’d already been waiting on the curb for him. But it wasn’t his fault. The lightning process of getting through immigration (remember the dushi form), coupled with Copa Airlines’ swift luggage unloading meant that I had  >>

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