This is the first stage of Pope Francis' trip to Africa, which will take place on September 4-10. The country struggles to get back on its feet after the damage caused by recent cyclones. In the political context, it is starting a new historical phase after decades of civil war.
In anticipation of this journey, the Vatican News website spoke with Sister Rita, who has been living in Mozambique for ten years and presents a picture of a country that lives between the hope of ending a political conflict that has generated waves of violence and the reconstruction of much of its territory, which has been ravaged by the fury of two cyclones.
"I hope this peace agreement that has been signed will really impact the places where the conflicts take place. In the province of Capo Delgado there have been very serious violations, some people have lost their lives... On the other hand, Mozambique is a very resource-rich country, and for this reason there is always a tendency for conflict." This is the comment of Sister Rita Zaninelli, who has been living in the country for ten years. After living in the north, in the Nampula province, she moved to Beira a few months ago because of the emergence related to the hurricanes.
Sister Rita has dedicated herself for a long time to the Justice and Peace Commission of the diocese of Nampula: "We were very much involved in the fight against land grabbing, human trafficking and family violence," says the Sister. "We planted the seeds, trying to do mainly a grassroots work in communities, being close to the people in sharing the values of peace and justice. I believe others will be able to reap the fruits of this work."
"The ecclesial representatives are all mobilized," says Sister Rita, "and we can see the communities are well aware of this visit." The nun does not hide a bit of bitterness for not being able to see him in Beira: "I was hoping that he would come here, we dreamed a little that he would come to visit this suffering people... But I hope he will leave a message of hope, peace and reconciliation for those who really need it".
Sister Rita is impressed by the strength of Mozambican women: "Many of them no longer have a husband, the partner with whom they had their children. In the face of devastation, they sought every means to obtain their daily bread and a more dignified life for their children." In general, the city is showing a great resilience: "When it rains and you enter the poorer neighborhoods, the situation is sadder and more dramatic, but the character of the Mozambicans is expressed in all its peculiarity. They resist, try to rebuild, to start over again."