Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Bullets to Bracelets

In Southern Sudan everyday necessities like clean water, medicines, or schoolbooks are in short supply.  But in this post-war country there is an abundance of one thing: BULLETS.  Bullets are everywhere. Men use them as a form of currency; they will pay for a clinic visit, for example, by handing over a bullet or two.  (And the nurse will accept them, happy to take any ammunition out of circulation.) Bullets have entered the local language as an informal measure of value.  If something is "worth three bullets," it's precious. 

The Sudanese women, however, know there is a better way.  Women collect the empty shell casings and fashion them into jewelry.  Bullets become anklets and bracelets. Power melts into art. Beauty emerges, even in the midst of violence.  It's the Sudanese women's version of swords into plowshares. 

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