Barter for a taxi ride

Turagabaleti with the taxi she uses to help people. Inset: Turagabaleti with a customer that traded eggplants and taro for her service. Picture: SUPPLIED

It’s a trade anybody would agree to. Taxidriver Lusi Turagabaleti is offering a fair trade for her service if they have no money.

The single mum and grandmother of two has been driving her taxi for the past year. Her business was doing well until everything rapidly changed overnight when COVID-19 was declared a pandemic.

Later thousands in Fiji lost their jobs and thousands more on reduced hours or pay cuts. “I know COVID-19 has affected most of us and it has also opened doors to other things that we can do to survive without money.

I am very grateful with Barter for Better Fiji administrators for coming up with this idea.

It reminds us that money is not everything and when you don’t have money life doesn’t end there. “We can do other things to survive.

I have experienced struggles in my life as a single mother and I understand what most of us are facing now.

“I was invited in this Barter page and then this idea came to me to offer my taxi service for trade. I can help move some people that have no money.

“I usually switch on my taxi meter and passengers gauge what they can trade. I’m doing all of this out of love. I’ve seen real struggles of people trying to make ends meet for their families. It’s my way of helping others and myself.

“I am happy with whatever they can trade for my services. I switch on my taxi meter and passengers work out a fair trade instead of cash.”

Turagabaleti said she was proud to offer a little assistance. “I have helped many people who have lost their jobs or are on reduced hours and can’t afford to pay for taxi fare to move around for important matters for their families.

“I have had more blessings come my way after helping people in need of barter taxi services.” She also acknowledges government’s endorsement for people to engage in the Barter for Better on social media’s Facebook.

“I am not looking at stopping any time soon, and I’ll continue to help in this way until things normalise.”

Turagabaleti also motivates people to never give up during this trying times. “For those who are going through tough times, keep up the hard work and never give up. Always stay positive.

Let’s work together and put a smile on someone’s face “I have worked with some big companies as a sales representative and I did enjoy my work, but I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and do something different so I felt everything happened for a reason.

And here I’m am trying to put a smile on people’s faces.

“I’ve been a full-time taxidriver for a year and two months now and I’m enjoying it,” she said.

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