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S E C T I O N 2 People In places where being female is dangerous, a Menlo Park Michelle Le/The Almanac photographer finds courage and dignity By Sandy Brundage Photos by Mark Tuschman Mark Tuschman ©Mark Tuschman Women on the edge A woman with her family in her home outside of Bahir Dar, Ethiopia. As Mark Tuschman shares photographs taken in corners of the world far from the comforts of his Menlo Park home, you wonder what memories drift through his mind. The images are crystal sharp with texture and feeling — the age-old eyes of a teenage bride peering at the camera, a woman standing with her family on a dirt floor. The bride is Nazia, whose husband tried twice to kill her over a disappointing dowry. He’d gotten a motorcycle for marrying her, but wanted a car, which her family couldn’t afford. She turned to a women’s group run by Action India for support in getting a divorce before he could try to murder her again. “These dowries are ongoing blackmail,” Mr. Tuschman explains. But his photos don’t tell the stories of beaten-down women surrendering to terrible circumstances. They tell the stories of women in horrible circumstances — starving, beaten, dying — finding the strength, somehow, to nurture hope. How much of that hope is created by the efforts of “armies of people helping people” defies precise measurement, but the photos tell their stories, too. The health care workers are the unsung heroes, according to Mr. Tuschman, dedicating their lives to providing basic services to communities where the wait time for a medical appointment measures in years, not hours. In Mozambique, for example, he said there are about 25 obstetricians for a population of 20 million, and almost all of the doctors live in the capital, an impossible trek for many villagers. “Women in the United States don’t worry about dying from pregnancy,” Mr. Tuschman notes. “It’s a major issue elsewhere.” Crossing worlds On a trip to Northern Nigeria in 2010 funded by the Packard Foundation to document their Continued on next page January 30, 2013NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN17

The Almanac 01.30.2013 - Section 2

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