Laurenzio Costales (left) and Henry Nalaielua on the porch of the staff dining room, an area previously off-limits to patients, 1986.
“It’s a great feeling to know that you can come into one of those places where you were never allowed before,” said Nalaielua. “I don’t ask the reason, I just like the change. I think if there’s any reason for things opening up, it’s because we now have people who have become understanding. They don’t have the fear that people once had about ‘leprosy,’ and they can accept you for what you are, not what you have.”
It takes guts to open a brick-and-mortar bookstore in the days of instant online gratification, but in da Shop, local publisher Bess Press has found a way to allow fickle/loyal readers to have their cake and eat it, too.