Nun serves God and Army
Which was where, last summer, she performed surgery on Marshet Zema, a petite native of Ethiopia with a beautiful smile.
When Sister Dede first met Ms. Zema, the 21-year-old had fist-sized keloids (lumps of scar tissue) behind her earlobes.
“We’ll remove these and create an earlobe,” said Sister Dede, tracing her thumb and index finger along the keloids at the June visit.
Ms. Zema had worn a scarf day and night for the past three years to cover up the deformity.
“Thank God,” said her brother, Desalane Zema.
“We have been to every hospital in the city, and no one will treat her because she doesn’t have health insurance,” Mr. Zema says.
Sister Dede, though, never discriminates.
She treats the poor and the illegal for everything from small medical conditions to big emergencies at the clinic. The same day that Ms. Zema came in for her pre-operation visit, a middle-aged woman with a perfect pedicure came in to get her spider veins removed.
“These are not dangerous, but we’ll remove them,” Sister Dede says while holding the woman’s leg.
She then proceeded to inject saline into the woman’s veins, which takes away the discoloration.
“This is with holy water, so you better believe it works,” jokes Sister Dede, whose sandal-clad calloused feet stand in sharp contrast to the patient’s perfectly painted nails.
The woman smiles.
Sister Dede, though, doesn’t judge.
She’s there to heal.
“I’m a private practitioner to the poor,” she says.