With a bubbly personality that suits Gizo’s island life, it is no wonder Naqarita Bea is well-known around town.
But there is another reason the 50-year-old is very popular – she is the Western Provincial capital’s sole female taxi driver.
“Initially we planned for my husband to drive the car when we bought it,” she explained to SIBC. “But then I heard some of the women say they were scared of the male taxi drivers. So I decided to drive for them.”
Mrs Bea, from Munda and the Philippines, ordered her taxi directly from Japan after she saved enough money for it.
“I saved money for the car selling fish and cooked food at the market. I also sold t-shirts,” she said.
She said she took pride in the vehicle and did not allow her passengers to smoke or drink alcohol in it.
“They listen to me when I tell them,” she smiled. ‘’I am not afraid of driving a taxi. I see myself providing equal service for the people in Gizo as the male taxi drivers.”
Mrs Bea and her taxi gained popularity in the town.
“People like my taxi because I play good Roviana music for them,” she said. “Ke qua Roviana was a favourite and some more. If they came into the taxi, they wanted me to play those songs. So I did!”
Mrs Bea has been living in Gizo for more than thirty years with her husband and five sons.
By Kikiva Tuni