John Wolfe (not his real name), 48, a Jamaican in New York, is at work on Wall Street with stress and despair painted all over his face. He’s a vice-president at a very successful roller coaster trading company where huge fortunes are lost or won in the blink of an eye.
But on this rainy Thursday morning, Wolfe abruptly cancels a strategy meeting and turns his thoughts towards his widowed, aged and ailing mother in Cherry Gardens, St Andrew who can no longer drive. Land taxes are past due and must be paid immediately. She has already run out of her medication, and urgent confidential paperwork needs to be delivered to a law firm along Duke Street to close a land sale on the north coast on behalf of his family.
But the real heartbreaker is that his mom called the night before, whispering that there is nothing but ice left in her lovely, state-of-the-art refrigerator. Wolfe is forced to put on his thinking cap. His dozens of cocktail circuit friends in Kingston can’t help, so he eliminates them. They are all too busy, too unreliable or not confidential. He processes his options faster than Pentium and he remembers hearing about a website where people who need to have errands run in Jamaica can visit the site, place their orders and kick back while the tasks are efficiently, quickly and confidentially executed. He finds the website and places a request for everything his mom needs. He pays by credit card and voila … problems solved!
“This service is heaven sent” Wolfe remarked.
John Wolfe is one of a growing number of Jamaicans overseas who are discovering the ease and convenience of utilising this new service.
Diasporaerrand.com was founded by a young Jamaican entrepreneur, Marlon Willie, who had previously worked in mortgage banking before he migrated. Folks in North America who want to get tasks done in Jamaica can log onto the website with their requests. The tasks must be legal and all jobs are handled by a team of Jamaican ‘jetts’, or runners.
The errands could be anything from paying bills, home and office deliveries, making purchases, personalised private transportation to and from appointments, handling private and confidential paperwork, buying a surprise Valentine’s gift for a friend, collecting a school report for a child or even mowing a lawn or fixing a pipe – almost any errand.
Cashless and Safety
The system is cashless, and safety and confidentiality are of paramount importance. Diasporaerrend.com uses the latest online technology to track, record and communicate the progress of each errand request. At present, the service is available in the parishes of Kingston and St Andrew, St Catherine, St Thomas, Manchester, and Clarendon, with more parishes to be added later. Cash transactions are never allowed and are strictly forbidden by the company.
“After living here in the United States for a while, I realised that there was a real need for this kind of professional service,” Willie told The Gleaner. “Everyone has family and friends back in Jamaica, but our loved ones don’t always treat these kinds of requests with the sense of priority that they deserve, so I thought it would make sense to put together this company with a team of solid, smart and trustworthy runners across Jamaica to take care of these needs. Diaspora Errand is your new trusted best friend in Jamaica,” he added.
Most of the jetts have transportation, and all have credit/debit cards that will enable a transfer of funds so they can pay bills and transact business on behalf of clients. Diaspora Errand is registered in New York, USA, and also in Kingston, Jamaica.
Dave Rodney, Contributor