Meet Caroline Hiambazapo, who operates an errand running business that allows farmers to purchase livestock and related products through her. Hiambazapo has given a new meaning and purpose to an otherwise mundane task of running errands for others.
As if intentionally fulfilling the age-old adage “Necessity is the mother of invention”, Hiambazapo has managed to create a niche market for herself by turning the running of errands into a fully-fledged business.
To the uninformed eye, Hiambazapo is the woman seen trotting from shop to shop and mall to mall clutching various items which she clearly keeps close to her. But to those who have made use of her services, Hiambazapo is simply known as “The Errand Lady”.
She caters for the busy farmer who may not have time to run farming errands such as the purchasing of farm products. Start-up farmers who may want to purchase livestock or feed for their livestock are also part of her clientele.
Most of her farming clients are overseas and have no trustworthy person to ask for the purchasing of livestock and running of farming related errands.
The Errand Lady, Hiambazapo said was formed in response to various requests she had been receiving – especially from those overseas – to send or receive items on their behalf. It was in fact never supposed to be a daily function, let alone a business, Hiambazapo admits.
But as of December 2021, The Errand Lady has been unemployed Hiambazapo’s main source of income and a fountain of plenty for her too.
“Due to the time that I had on my hands, I found many of my friends overseas requesting me to assist with sending some of the stuff over to them from Namibia, or receiving stuff they sent and taking it to their relatives here,” she recalled.
Once a friend is satisfied with Hiambazapo’s assistance, they would recommend her to others whom she gladly helped out at no charge. That was until another close acquaintance implored her to start charging for her service as she uses her time and money to pull such errands off.
“I initially waved it off and thought it was not a feasible thing to do. But after some careful thoughts on it, I saw that I was sitting on something that would not only help put bread on the table, but one that will definitely put me on the map out there,” she said.
Through her business, Hiambazapo would receive money from clients who are overseas, with specific instructions on what to buy with the money and where to deliver the goods. She said she has been of great help to many of her clients who would previously send money home but whose money never got used for the intended purposes.
“I do everything by the book. I keep receipts of all my spending and I report to the client on every step along the way. When you work with someone else’s money, you need to be a trustworthy person. I guess this is what has made my business flourish; the fact that I leave no room for errors,” she said.
Most of her clients request her to purchase livestock on their behalf or feed and lick for the livestock. She would then go from one shop to the other to determine the best prices before settling for one shop.
Reminiscing on one of her last jobs for a client, Hiambazapo said she had to travel to Otjinene from her base in Windhoek to buy cattle at an auction for a client.
She had to rely on her farming experience to scout for the best quality cattle, which she eventually bought and transported to a village in Epukiro to the client’s parents.
For Hiambazapo, the Errand Lady is more than just a business; it has become her life.