‘‘A big scar on my knee carries my old memories,’’ says Ayal Melaku. She remembers the day it happened. While walking back home carrying a clay pot of dirty water that was 20 liters (44 pounds), Ayal fell and injured herself. ‘‘I sustained an injury on my left knee that bled and swelled slowly. It prevented me from walking to school and I missed class for 15 days in a row,’’ she says.
Ayal lives in Robit village in the Ambassel district, 290 miles north of Ethiopia’s capital. She is the third of seven children and as a young girl, helped her mother with household chores.