Papine – Past, Present and Future

Papine in eastern St. Andrew is the last settlement that you will pass through when you leave Kingston and head into the foothills of the Blue Mountains. It is a historical community, being the location of the Papine sugar estate that was founded in the mid eighteenth century. The main remnant from this era is the aqueduct which carried water from the Hope River to irrigate the Hope, Papine and Mona sugar estates. Now, most people think of Papine as either the bus terminus or as the location of the Papine market. As such, it is a hub of activity – of pedestrians, vehicles and vendors.

One of my photojournalism students in Papine market.

One of my photojournalism students in Papine market.

Papine is also being touted as a potential “university town”, due to its history and close proximity of both UTech and the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona campus. For this to happen, a lot of work needs to take place. For example, UTech students confirm that while they do have lunch at the various eating places, student-friendly hang-out spots are absent.

School children waiting in the rain

School children waiting in the rain

Father and son in the Papine market

Father and son in the Papine market

My most indelible memories of Papine are as a high school student walking from Jamaica College to catch a bus. Ideally, we could have just waited by the bus stop outside the school, but most of the buses sped past, refusing to stop for the “Boys in Blue”. And honestly, sometimes we just felt like walking. Decades later and now I work in Papine at the University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech). I find it is a great location to take my photojournalism students for them to be experienced and comfortable with street photography, approaching and photographing strangers and general documentation of locations. While overseeing my students I occasionally manage to grab a few shots myself, of which here are a few. And as you can see the boys in blue still stand out from the crowd when they are catching the buses in in Papine.

School children boarding a bus.

School children boarding a bus