When he returned from serving as a Dignity Advocate, he brought back a few of these special sets handmade from spent AK-47 shells used in Liberia’s civil wars. Dr. Joe spoke with the artisan and shared his story, which I am retelling with a combination of his words and mine. Benjamin Somah started collecting bullet casings in Monrovia. He dedicated himself to creating art that promotes the message that something good can come from the violence and pain that his country endured.
Mr. Somah is a father of eight. He began making and selling his artwork to support his family and build a house. He uses a set of worn hand tools for his work. He first flattens each bullet casing, and then cuts the shells into the desired shape. Next, he etches out the pattern using a lead pencil. He uses a small hand tool to cut around the etchings and finishes them off with a file.
When I first heard Mr. Somah’s story, I immediately thought of the words from the prophet Isaiah (2:4): “they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks.”
An obstetric fistula is painful, yet so much good has resulted from Kathi Gutierrez having an obstetric fistula. Dignity:Liberia was launched! Plans are now well under for Dignity House, a maternity waiting home. By providing prenatal care, the incidence of obstetric fistula in Liberia will be further reduced. Something good can come from violence and pain.