Recent peace in the Ivory Coast has postal workers sorting through five years of accumulated, undelivered mail. Since war and peace is so often expressed in terms of number of lives lost, lists of parties in power — reducing the situation to the statistics — this story stands out for its root in humanity.
Following a failed army rebellion in 2002, the country split in half, leaving rebels in charge of the north. Post offices were subsequently looted, and all postal workers fled to the south. For the last five years, all letters and packages addressed to those living in the north have been date-stamped and put into storage. Sifting through the piles reveals a sad timeline of the war's hidden cost, of opportunities lost, of love undeclared.
One man was devastated after receiving an out-of-date letter saying that he had passed the entrance exam to study at the Sorbonne university in Paris. However, some sentiments haven't lost their power during their five years of exile. One man received a love letter from a woman he thought he'd lost forever during the war. Seeing the words she wrote years before still brought him joy.
War's effects extend so far beyond the fighting. Can you imagine receiving a love letter years after it was written?