I just returned from Ecuador. I was there for three weeks, this time with a group of students from a Toronto independent school, in a rural community high in the Andes called La Pompa. We were breaking the ground on a new water system that would bring water from a natural spring to the local school. I took a shitload of photos. Over a thousand, to be sure. Following the trip with the youth, I took off for four days to this small city known for its waterfalls, called Banos. It was there that I did a day hike to see six majestic waterfalls. They were profound, and the photos of said waterfalls really turned out.

It was then on the bus coming back to Quito—on my last night in the country, it should be noted—that some swine stole my beloved camera. This was my greatest fear. I was almost paranoid about it. And although I held on tightly to my bag and had my camera bag between my legs, the swine in the seat in front of me, went to the ground and then from under the seat in front of me, unzipped my camera bag, carefully extracted my camera from between my feet, zipped up the camera bag and left. It wasn’t until I got back to my Quito hotel that I figured out what had happened. Like I said, swine. Clever swine. The shittiest part, of course, is that I no longer have those photos. But I do have these few photos that I thankfully took with my iPhone. Not nearly the same, but they will suffice, I guess.

Ps. With the youth, we were charged by a raging bull. But that’s a different story that will be told in full. It warrants it.

—RYAN BOLTON

Written by Ryan Bolton

Ryan is a Toronto-based writer and photographer that likes to break the rules. His work has taken him around the world to do what he truly loves—storytelling. And drinking cold beer.