Living Letters visit to Angola

19 to 22 July 2009                                                    Read more about the visit

Women of faith

End of a worship service at the Anglican Church in Rosha Pinto, a poor neighbourhood on the outskirts of Angola capital city Luanda. "Women and youth account for most of the membership in Angolan churches", the WCC Living Letters team was told by a local pastor as they arrived in the country.

In the streets of Luanda

A woman sells roasted peanuts and bananas in Angola's capital city Luanda. Many Angolan women live with former combatants, now demobilized, or with relatives who have suffered amputations or other injuries. Many of them live below the poverty line.

Much work, small earnings

A pregnant woman walks the streets of Luanda hoping to sell her fish. Women typically leave home at 3 a.m. to look for saleable goods. When they reach home, at about 10 p.m., they might have earned 200 kwanzas (less than three US dollars), but if sales were not good, there may not be anything for dinner.

Women's meeting

The WCC Living Letters team meeting Angolan women from several member churches of the Council of Christian Churches of Angola.

Women's voices I

The Rev. Josefina Sandemba (right), in charge of the women's programme of the Council of Christian Churches of Angola, speaks with WCC Living Letter team member Dr David Valente (left), general secretary of Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Portugal.

Women's voices II

WCC Living Letters team member Anja Michel (right), a theology student from the Reformed Churches of Bern-Jura-Solothurn, Switzerland, speaks with women from the Kimbanguist Church (Angola).

Reading and respect

Young women participating in a literacy course organized by the Young Women's Christian Association in Petrangol, a poor neighbourhood on the outskirts of Luanda. "A husband shows a different kind of respect if you are able to read", says Mariana Afonso (first row, second from the left), a 24-year-old mother of five and a member of the Evangelical Reformed Church of Angola.

Literacy and life

Juliana Feliciano, YWCA literacy teacher from the Evangelical Congregational Church of Angola, says she helps her students to "discover what they already know". In addition to learning reading and writing skills, young women participating at the literacy course also discuss social problems and together seek solutions.

Living Letters

WCC Central Committee member Rev. Pedro Malungo (second from the left), from the Evangelical Reformed Church of Angola in conversation with the Living Letters team (from left to right): Dr David Valente, the general secretary of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Portugal; Anja Michel, a theology student from the Reformed Churches of Bern-Jura-Solothurn, Switzerland; and Marilia Schüller, adviser to the Ecumenical and Social Networks programme of Koinonia, a Brazilian ecumenical organization.

All photos © Juan Michel/WCC
High resolution versions of these pictures are available upon request.