A team of Christian representatives from Portugal, Switzerland and Brazil is paying a solidarity visit to churches and civil society groups in Angola and Mozambique from 18 to 28 July 2009.
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 efforts towards reconciliation 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.
Living Letters are small ecumenical teams visiting a country to listen, learn, share approaches and help to confront challenges in order to overcome violence, promote and pray for peace.
The visits are organized in the context of the WCC's Decade to Overcome Violence in order to prepare for the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation in 2011.