The village was spared the horrors and looting of the civil war.
But now "everything is missing, we have to start over".
former Roman accountant,
he returned after two years in Tigray and is about to leave again, with a 400 quintal lorry of food, soaps, school supplies.
He returns to a hundred children, "my orphans" he says, who are almost all called Francesco by surname, as he does in Ethiopia, where the surname is the father's name.
Romagnoli arrived in
in the Tigray region, in northern Ethiopia - in 2000 and since 2005 the gates of the
, the most "beautiful in the whole Horn of Africa": at the beginning it housed orphans from the war with Eritrea, but also many abandoned babies - the structure, he says, in fact works like the medieval "wheel of exhibits" - or with mothers who died in childbirth.
Today there are 102 children and teenagers, plus at least another two hundred
who are helped outside the village, because they can stay "with a family member or entrusted to one of our workers".
In the structure, as Romagnoli recounts in the book
"Babajé. The call of invisible children"
(published by Gremese, and which will be presented
on Tuesday 21 March, from 6.30 pm, at the Notebook bookshop in the Auditorium
in Rome), today there are 16 houses where "mamie" look after the children and teenagers, who are mixed by age as in a real family.
And the Romagnoli association - "James will not die", from the name of a child who died at the age of three from a serious form of leukemia - has also taken care of the school, which children and young people attend outside the village.
"There were 80 classrooms - he says - we built eight more, now there are at least 40 per class".
Of course, in the last three years they have not been able to go to school but now "we will try to get back to normal. As I have always said, food and hygiene in Africa cure 95% of diseases".
we will start again from the "soap" and medicines
"And anyone who wants to throw his bag on the truck - concludes Romagnoli who has always relied on the solidarity of private individuals for funding - is welcome".