BUCHAREST – I touch down in Bucharest around 2 pm. The weather is not the kindest: grey skies, clear air and winter clothes paint a landscape that I’ve become familiar with. I greet Annalisa and Paola affectionately – the friends/colleagues I have the pleasure of working with on the Romania project.

Our first port of call is Slatina, where our groups include Roma kids and other youngsters from disadvantaged backgrounds. There’s a superb atmosphere, like I’ve seen in all the countries I’ve been lucky enough to visit. All it takes is a pitch (with very little grass), a ball, a Nerazzurri shirt and the desire to have fun.

After three days we move on to a town called Macin in the south-east of Romania. Here the simple landscape and the beautiful backdrop of the Danube with its orderly, simple countryside makes for a very poetic atmosphere.

The alarm usually goes off at 6 am, except on the first day when we’re woken abruptly by an earthquake registering 5.5 on the Richter scale. After composing ourselves and having a hurried breakfast, we make our way to the Danube where something resembling a large raft is waiting to take us across the river. It turns out that we’re the ones who have to wait though as there is no set time for departure: it only leaves once it’s full!

When we arrive we’re greeted by two groups of girls, the more fortunate of which on a grass pitch and the others on the concrete courtyard of a school. This is an extremely poor area but the kids are rich in many ways: in their innocence and the sheer joy they get from playing. These children teach us something new every day and our time here flies by.

I always find it a bit sad and tiring when I come back to Italy. It takes me a few days to get back into my daily routine after a week with Inter Campus – and I still don’t know quite how it weaves its magic. All I know is that with an Inter shirt and a ball it brings joy to thousands of children.

Roberto Picardi