Last week was crunch time again with several classes, an assignment due and an exam to write. There were a lot of too late nights and too early mornings. Finally waking up on Saturday morning with no classes and nothing due was a relief, but only until I thought of all the little things that got put off in the last two weeks so that my assignment would get done. First on my list was getting one of my textbooks repaired. It hadn’t been new when I got it and had finally succumbed to a year and a half of being hauled around in my backpack, thumped on tables, being used as a computer stand, and being shoved into bags with too little space. Poor Maternal Newborn Nursing was looking a little worse for wear after taking a nose dive off a coffee shop table and separating from its bindings. I was headed out to do the grocery shopping for the weekend so I planned on poking around on the street by the college with all the printing and lamination stalls to see if someone would repair it. Some previous classmates had taken books to be rebound, but nobody could offer very good directions. I stopped at the first stall I saw with a sign mentioning “Hardbinding”. At my inquiry the lady shook her head and pointed across the street. I wandered up the street aways till I found another sign advertising book binding. Entering a dim warren of stalls I picked one at random and held up my book, repeating my request. The lady behind the counter shook her head as well, but then came out and led me back to the sunny street. A couple stalls over she nodded and left me to stand in a short line. Once again my request was met with a shaking head. This lady popped her head around the corner of her stall into the next, waking a man dozing in his chair. He looked up, and reached for my tattered textbook. “Ahhh repair” he said. “I can do it. Done tomorrow. 120 pesos”. I was only slightly leery, the next day was Sunday and I wasn’t at all sure he would be open, but I figured I could borrow someone else’s book until I could make it back during the week.
On an off chance that the stall would be open today, I headed out this afternoon to see if I could get my book back. As I walked down the much emptier street, the number of closed stalls made me wish I hadn’t gone for such a hot walk for nothing. Sure enough, the stall was tightly shuttered. I stopped and squinted at it for a minute and noticed the lady next door, one I had spoken to yesterday, wave me over. She rummaged around in the back of her stall for a minute and brought out my textbook. “Is this yours” she asked. At my nod she brought it to the counter for me to look at. Neatly rebound in it’s original cover, it looked much nicer then when I had dropped it off. A bill was tucked into the spine. As I paid her, she opened the cover and pointed at the inside, “tahi” she said. Surprised that it was a word I recognized, I looked closely, sure enough, tiny holes had been punched in the pages, and thread carefully sewn through before everything had been glued back together. I gratefully waved goodbye and walked back the way I had come, glad my book was once again in one piece.