Living Letters solidarity visit to Angola and Mozambique

18 to 28 July 2009

Child soldier in Chicala, Angola, 2002. Photo: Paul Jeffrey/ACT International

A team of church representatives from Portugal, Switzerland and Brazil is paying a solidarity visit to churches, ecumenical organizations and civil society organizations in Angola and Mozambique.

Travelling as a "Living Letters" team on behalf of the World Council of Churches (WCC), the group will spend five days in each of the two countries, which share some common historical traits of colonial rule, liberation, civil war and reconstruction. In both countries churches are engaged in reconciliation efforts and overcoming violence.

In Angola the visit is being hosted by the Council of Christian Churches in Angola (CICA). After gaining independence from Portugal in 1975, the country suffered a 27-year civil war which killed hundreds of thousands of people and devastated the economy and infrastructure. Despite the current post-war reconstruction boom the majority of the population still lives in poverty.

The Christian Council of Mozambique (CCM) hosts the Living Letters team in the second leg of the visit. Shortly after its independence from Portugal in 1975, Mozambique was drawn into the struggle against white rule taking place in neighbouring South Africa and Rhodesia (today's Zimbabwe). Until a political settlement was reached in 1992, war and famine killed up to a million people. Between 2000 and 2002 successive floods and a severe drought hit the country. Today economic growth is fast, although poverty is widespread.