The first thing you might have noticed about Yashume was her height; she towered over all the other patients in the fistula ward. Her smile, which in its fullest expression stretched from one protruding ear to the other, revealed a wide gap between her upper front teeth. Her neck and chest area was covered with neat rows of spiral tattoos, a prestigious form of bodily adornment among women in this part of Ethiopia. Yashume’s hair was mostly gray, and she liked keeping it short. Her large, veiny hands told the story of a life filled with hard manual labor, and the wrinkles around her deep-set eyes framed a face that had known many emotions: painful losses and privations, but also tremendous moments of joy....
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