MACIN – As we bid farewell to the children of Macin,
Inter Campus’s visit to Romania came to a conclusion. Macin was the
final stop on a trip undertaken in two stages as the Inter Campus
delegation crossed the country from east to west to meet all the
copii (children) involved in the project, to continue the training
courses for coaches and keep up to date with other developments.

As they arrived in Valcea, our coaches Paola Balconi and Lorenzo Forneris were
greeted with immense enthusiasm by the children. There were heavy rainfalls in those days but the bad weather didn’t curb the kids’ desire to enjoy themselves. Head of leisure
activities Giorgio Colnaghi and musicians Giovanni Mirolli and Muriel Beckouche from the Fondazione
Antonio Carlo Monzino
  met the
young musicians who are taking violin and piano classes and
their teachers. After Valcea, the journey proceeded to Slatina. The children there were astonished to see their pitch looking like new thanks to the work carried out by Paola and Lorenzo, who stood waiting for them
with local coaches Valy, Dani and Mateo. And at the end of training
they shouted out "Ce tare a fost!" ("That was great!") The children from
Slavina also took part in a special day organised by our partner
Comunità Nuova together with Pirelli Tyres, during which the older
kids about to leave the project welcomed the newcomers.

Brasov and Macin were part of the second leg of the Inter
Campus delegation’s trip to Romania, when Paola Balconi and Giorgio Colnaghi were joined by coach Raffaele
Quaranta. Brasov is a
bustling tourist city in Transylvania surrounded by spectacular
mountains, ski slopes, monuments and castles, including Bran Castle,
home of the legendary Count Dracula. Because so many people move to
Brasov seeking work, it is one of the Romanian cities with the
highest number of abandoned kids. The children from the Victoria and
Tarlun orphanages, the Sacele foster homes and the Ghimbav
rehabilitation centre for children with behavioural problems
regularly train with Inter Campus in this area.

Four hundred kilometres separate Brasov from Macin, a
small rural town in the Dobrogea region that can be reached by ferry
across the Danube. During the journey from one Inter Campus centre to
another, as we bounced along in the little van driven by the tireless Valy, Lidia Dobre,
president of Inter Campus’s partner association Inima Pentru
, told us about this part of the country. Here
the atmosphere is very different, not so much for the people,
who are kind, warm and welcoming like elsewhere in the country (although they clearly aren’t used to having lots of foreigners – those Italians dressed in black and blue certainly turned a few heads
on their way through). You get the distinct impression you have stepped back in time: towered over by the Macin mountains, one of
Europe’s most ancient mountain ranges, you can see lots of
countryside, few houses and poverty in abundance. In the two days we spent
there we met and played football with 60 boys and 40 girls. They all
attend the town’s school and most of them are being looked after by
relatives or neighbours at the moment because their parents have
emigrated to other European countries looking for work and better
living conditions.