Wheelbarrow man rolls with greens

Wheelbarrow man Eremasi Drodrolagi (second from left) with his comrades at the Suva market. Picture: LOSALINI VUKI

EREMASI Drodrolagi can easily be seen with his brightly coloured reflector vest at the Suva Municipal Market.
He meanders through crowds with his wheelbarrow loaded with produce and at the end of the day, walks across the street to shop at MaxVal-u (opposite the Suva market).

With the money he rakes in at the end of the day, he forks out only $15 to shop and the rest is tucked away in his savings account.

“I prefer MaxVal-u (opposite the Suva market) because not only is it closer to where I work but the price of items suits my daily budget,” said Mr Drodrolagi.

“I make sure five dollars is spent on green leafy vegetables before I leave the market,” he said.

“With the number of people dying from Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in Fiji, I make sure my family practices a healthy lifestyle of buying and eating. Healthy foods is a smart thing to do especially at my age and eating healthy takes on even greater importance as you grow older. Besides that, I have grandchildren at home so fresh green vegetables is a must.”

Mr Drodrolagi operates his wheelbarrow business every Monday to Saturday from 7am to 7pm.

By half-day, he could earn about $40.

“Today, the cost of one wheelbarrow service is three dollars but most of us here have our usual clients and by the end of the day, one could make about $60 or $70 plus,” he said.

One of the things he likes about his wheelbarrow business is that it keeps him fit.

“We walk every day from one end of the market to another and even to buses transporting produce for people,” he said.

“Given my age, I see this as a very good way to exercise because it keeps me healthy. I also enjoy what I do because I’ve made friends too and I think that’s important for your health – being happy.”

“My only advise to shoppers is to eat a well-balanced diet,” he said.

“Fuel your daily activities, including regular exercise and you need to get the right types of food at the right times of the day. Being fit and healthy doesn’t only mean you have to eat nothing but steamed meals but it’s also about your habits.”