Cosmos Wakatama, the coordinator of the Catholic Development Commission of
Zimbabwe, invited a representative from Caritas Holland and me to accompany him
to see two resettlement camps for Mozambique refugees in Manica Province.
Manica town is 18 miles from the Zimbabwean border. All repatriated people for
this province are moved through the reception center on the edge of the town.
At the center are a few tents and old buildings that should be abandoned. There
were 100 people waiting around, many of them very sick and malnourished, the
others in a state of apathy. Our guide Paulino, the refugee resettlement
director, didn’t even know these people were there. If the plans to resettle
10,000 people before the next rainy season are implemented, and the repatriated
move through centers like this one, there will be complete chaos.
There is a tremendous amount of poverty and bureaucracy to overcome in
Mozambique. Cosmos told us during the day that "we are going to succeed." He is
an energetic, bright, concerned individual, and I left him believing that if
anyone can succeed, he will.