Monday, October 24, 2016

Garvey the Musical and your Invitation to a Special Screening!

Andre Bernard as Marcus Garvey faces off with Jean-Paul Menou as J. Edgar Hoover.
Photos: Corve Dacosta
"Educate Yourself, keep learning
Educate yourself for you
Educate yourself keep reading
Educate yourself be true
Educate yourself keep searching
Educate yourself be free" -Garvey,  The Musical

On Monday,  October 17, my 7 year old accompanied me to a fitting National Heroes Day showcase of Garvey, The Musical: Roots, Reggae, Rock.

Having always been a big proponent of Garvey's teachings around self-sufficiency, economic development and empowerment for the black race,  I thought a musical was just the right thing to introduce my growing daughter to some of these key messages.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Forget the hashtags, Here's how you can LEGITIMATELY #HelpHaitiForReal

Forget the Hashtags! Want to make a REAL impact and ACTUALLY #HelpHaitiForReal?  here's a serious tip, Be a DOER and Not a POSTER! and the first step is to move beyond just posting #PrayForHaiti to one where you actually SUPPORT via some of the many entities in Jamaica that are seeking to get immediate aid into the country.

For context, our fellow Caribbean neighbors in Haiti have been facing the devastating effects of #HurricaneMatthew.  To date, the death toll has soared to a  devastating high in excess of 800 persons and UNICEF asserts that 

An estimated 500,000 children live in the Grande Anse and Grand South departments in southern Haiti, the areas worst hit by Hurricane Matthew. UNICEF further notes that Up to 80 per cent of homes in the south are reportedly damaged and nearly 16,000 people are staying in temporary shelters. Some 175 schools are believed to have sustained heavy damage and at least 150 schools throughout the country are being used to shelter evacuees...

 The video below shows the painful reality.

Now, I know we have long become a "Let us create an hashtag to show how much we care" society, but in time of crises, it bluntly means nothing if you can't put your resources where your hashtag is. So to encourage you to move from being a POSTER to a DOER, the Jamaican Mommies team is compiling a running list of legitimate organizations in Jamaica that are raising cash and kind to support Haiti. This list will be continuously updated and we encourage persons to share organized and legitimate efforts to be added to same.  Some of the organized efforts to date include:

Monday, April 18, 2016

Irish for a Day-St. Patrick's Day Celebration in Jamaica 2016

"Irish Town in Jamaica is linked to the Irish from Ireland?" like duh right? Looking back, it now seems so obvious but for some reason I have never quite made the connection, that is until a member of Jamaica's Irish expatriate community shared details about the St. Patrick's Day celebration in Irish Town, Jamaica. As the event promised a grand parade, Irish dancing and Music, Gaelic Football and Hurling, Irish Food, Fun and the games for the kids and shuttle to the event's location, I was intrigued. I figured why not, my daughter would enjoy the cultural adventure and I can enjoy the road trip and some new food :D.

To prepare myself for this new adventure, I actually went researching to find out more about the Irish-Jamaican link (They don't call it Irish Town for nothing right?) and indeed I was mind blown at the rich cultural history and linkages between two countries that are  thousands of miles away. Off the top of my head, I did recall that Digicel, though an Irish Owned company is headquartered in Jamaica and that Guinness which is rooted in Ireland now owns Red Stripe/D&G. But several articles later, these interesting facts stood out:

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Jamaican team Launches Globally Respected Early Childhood Parenting Programme

For a long time, Jamaica's outstanding feats have been linked to successes on the track and musical accomplishments. It is therefore super refreshing when my fellow country men and women excel at academics, politics, international competitions, fashionable showcases, culinary delights and more recently start up companies and ICT inventions. With the recent heart swelling Man Booker win by Jamaican Marlon James it prompted me to blog about yet another outstanding Jamaican based grouping that has been receiving international acclaim in the field of Early Childhood Parenting programmes.

On Tuesday, September 29, 2015, a University of the West Indies based group (Bonus points for my alumni) made their way to the Inter American Development Bank's (IDB) offices in Washington, D.C to launch an established and highly successful parenting model, aptly called Reach Up: An early childhood parenting programme.  
Some members of the Reach Up Team: Joanne Smith, Kristy Fernandez, Amika Wright Christine Powell, Susan Chang and Susan Walker
But what made this programme so different, so meaningful and successful was the fact that it did not begin today but has been steadily and sometimes even quietly reaping successes over the past 30 years. Beginning as the Jamaica Home Visit Programme of the 1980's to where it stands today helping parents and their children to "Reach Up" and achieve their full potential.

To date, this programme #FromJamaicaToTheWorld has already been implemented in Jamaica, Bangladesh, India, Brazil, Madagascar and Peru and best of all provides a globally scalable, easy to replicate early childhood development solution. 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Youth Money Talk Hackathon & the case for Respect in Jamaica

Just yesterday, August 26, 2015, I was a part of an audience of some 500 plus youth leaders at a Forum hosted by the Ministry of Youth and Culture with the main presenter being Minister of Finance, the Hon. Peter Phillips. The event promised to provide a platform for the involvement of our youth at the decision making table as a critical part of Jamaica’s success and economic growth. I was intrigued as I've long held the view that engaging with and encouraging participatory strategies for our youth can yield meaningful results.  Besides, I have been keen on ways to grow my recently launched FREE service provider listing site  and felt the forum may provide me with an opportunity to network

A few things out of the way, the event was branded as a #MoneyTalkHackathon and a quarter of the way in, I wondered about the term Hackathon and if the word forum may not have been more appropriate. As always, the trusty twitter network picked up on that too with several persons asking why the event was labelled a hackathon.  Eventually technology startup/tech events entrepreneur Ingrid Riley provided some well needed clarity.

Moving ahead, As a young entrepreneur (Check out my latest project- a FREE service provider listing site I also found the Money Talk aspect of the forum not as dense as I had expected, having secured my space to learn more about the economic empowerment activities and engagements for our youth. I was more keen on what efforts would be put in place to better assist young people to not only understand money and its management but to also be educated to the point of having a better appreciation about how their money management actions affect Jamaica at the microeconomic level. This especially as the Ministry's Invitation letter promised "We believe that there needs to be a clear understanding of the current economic climate of the country and path we are on to compete globally...Together, we will explore how the current Economic Reform Programme (ERP) impacts Jamaica’s young people presently and in the future. This engagement will result in a greater understanding of your future economic prospects in Jamaica."

Lovely objective, but not sure if this was achieved...

I had also anticipated that this "Money Talk" hackathon forum would have provided a launching pad for interventions that will make "money talk"a bit more relatable for our young people- break down the jargons, key in young people on the basics of investing, generating income, avenues for helping with starting and sustaining businesses-you know MONEY TALK kind of stuff and this I articulated via several tweets as I missed the opportunity to raise these points directly.

A look at the #MoneyTalkHackathon  and #MoneyTalkJa hashtags going throughout the night revealed that several persons were on the same path with their questioning and the concerns they raised via twitter such as...

At best, the #MoneyTalkHackathon therefore provided a good start for what should become a series of sessions where young people can have open dialogue with their leaders. BUT that brings me to the next point.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Jamaican Mommies launches FREE Listing Website Connecting Jamaican Service Providers and Customers

Have you ever had challenges locating a local carpenter? Electrician? Household worker? IT Technician? plumber? Ever wondered where to find a good makeup artist? Photographer or even a band? Do you offer these and other services and need a FREE online platform to advertise your services? Thanks to Jamaican Mommies and this challenge will soon be non existent for service providers and customers in varied parishes across the island. 

With constant requests to the Jamaican Mommies network for contact information for household helpers, babysitters, plumbers, mechanics, tutors, school bus drivers and the like, the EXTRAHANDSJA concept was born.

Admittedly, when preparatory work began in July 2014, the initial focus was on parent support services but after much market research it was decided that a wider service provider to consumer market existed, hence the aim to connect Service Providers to Customers.


Screen shot of ExtraHandsJA's website

At ExtrahandsJA, we believe that at some point or the other we all require an extra Hand hence our tagline "Because YOU deserve an Extra Hand".  Service providers require an Extra Hand to connect with prospective customers and customers who need an Extra Hand within their home or businesses require a singular location to search for, review and connect with such service providers.  At ExtraHandsJA we therefore  bring it all together- connecting the service providers to customers by allowing service providers to LIST THEIR SERVICES FOR FREE!!


Since the site was published on June 25, 2015 the primary aim has been site population.  As such primary efforts have been around encouraging service providers to LIST THEIR SERVICES FOR FREE!!. This is a pretty easy process which sees members of the public completing our online form and hitting the submit button. 

As the site has two fold functionalities, the secondary aim is to encourage members of the public to interact with the site, search for and subsequently make contact with and employ the services of providers listed on 

Once a sizable service provider listing has been amassed, the growing database will be made public for customers to search and make contact with the respective service providers. In the interim, members of the public are encouraged to SUBSCRIBE FOR UPDATES and be among the first to know when new listings are added to 


In addition to FREE listings, Jamaican Service providers are presented with the opportunity to;
  • Improve their Sales Prospects
  • Increase their online Presence with a professional service provider profile
  • Connect with Prospective customers and
  • Receive customer reviews of their services thereby building credibility for their offerings. 
Customers benefit too as they will soon discover the convenience of having a comprehensive list of service providers at their fingertips. 


EXTRAHANDSJA lists professional and Work-in-progress services.  We understand that many persons are constantly discovering new talents and while they may still be honing their craft, we encourage persons who are still working to perfect same to still LIST THEIR SERVICES FOR FREE!!. So did you discover you have a knack for creative hair dos? nails service?  Are you great at baking products? proofreading documents? Reviewing resumes? writing? Now may be a great time to assess your service offerings and list them today.  As a broad guide, EXTRAHANDSJA lists services for:
  • household workers (helpers, gardeners, caretakers)
  • cleaning services
  • courier services
  • personal shoppers (supermarket, pharmacy etc)
  • fashion and beauty services
  • healthcare professionals
  • food and beverage services
  • entertainment services (MCs, DJs, bands, venues etc)
  • design & decor services
  • transportation services (including drivers)
  • tailors & seamstress services
  • landscaping & garden services
  • computer & electronic repairs
  • photography & videography
  • child care/special needs
  • tutoring
  • skilled workers (plumbers, carpenters, painters, masons, shoemakers, electricians, mechanics, etc) 
  • Personal Services (Personal Training, direct consultations)


To date, some pretty interesting listings have been streaming in and several persons have also been subscribing to the site.  Thanks to on the ground marketing at the recent Denbigh Agriculture show, EXTRAHANDSJA was also able to expand the island wide pool of listings being submitted. 

As we inch closer to our site population goals, we encourage members of the public to continue to share the good news with other persons who would love to list for FREE, List their own and look out for EXTRAHANDSJA's additional publicity efforts. 

To LIST YOUR SERVICES FREE Complete the form on our site>>

TO SUBSCRIBE FOR UPDATES, Simply provide your basic information>>

So what are you waiting for?!! Do it! Do it! Do it NOW!! Pop on by to WWW.EXTRAHANDSJA.COM

Questions? Comments? drop us a line below, email us at or drop us a line via the contact box on EXTRAHANDSJA.COM

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