MILAN – The happy ending could only ever be the long journey home where, despite approaching 200 missions, I try to piece the whole thing back together with the same doubts as the first few times. The questions are always the same. Did it go well? Could it have gone better? Did we stick to the schedule and meet expectations? All the while trying to envisage how we can make it all more efficient in the future.
We said goodbye to Del, long-time Inter Campus Brazil coordinator – Jonathan’s doppelgänger – in Sao Paulo where we opened two new centres in the Agua Vermelha and Santo Antônio favelas. Brother Vincenzo meanwhile was having fun singing football chants (like: “…while we wait for New Year and Christmas, in the favelas with Inter Campus”), Del and I thought about the significant numbers we have in Brazil, Inter Campus’ first project, which currently involves 2,000 kids and 40 educators.
We went to Sao Paulo following our stop-off in Recife. Local coordinator in Recife Augusto took us to visit the six favelas where the project is run. Seeing all the kids wearing the Nerazzurri colours after a few years in which Brazilian customs slowed down deliveries was an amazing sight, making us even more enthusiastic and motivated. We then met the head of the school in Olinda where only after they’ve finished their homework – which takes place in the classrooms in the afternoon – do the kids go training. It’s reassuring to see that even 15 years on from the start of the project in Recife, these good habits have not changed.
We landed in Brazil at Natal, the closest airport to Pititinga. We were met by huge fan Enrico Bertolino and his wife Edna. A community of fisherman, it’s quite bleak with its clay streets, but is thankfully surrounded by wonderful scenery, which provides a nice backdrop to the activities involving around 70 children. They, along with their families, are perhaps the only ones to live in this area. The centre which bears the name of the much-loved Giacinto Facchetti is the home of Inter Campus. It’s also the village’s playground where both kids and adults alike, wherever you look, wear Nerazzurri shirts.