Rick Campanelli In Ecuador

By KATE MORAWETZ

I travelled to Ecuador for the first time in my life back in July. It wasn't just any trip to South America - it was quite an honour and humbling experience as I accompanied World Vision Canada to see first-hand the gifts that are available for purchase on their annual gift catalogue.

We visited a preschool high up in the Andes Mountains where getting a proper education can be tough. Even though schools in Ecuador are free, many classrooms are under-funded.

However this school was different. The students received supplies from Canadians who bought things like books, pencils and uniforms through World Vision Gifts, an annual catalogue that allows you to purchase meaningful items for families and communities in developing countries.

One of the things I learned while travelling throughout Ecuador is that soccer is their national sport. Wherever you are in the country, you will see kids playing it. Unfortunately, many of them can’t afford a proper ball so they make their own out of old rags or whatever garbage they can find.

Now if you know me - you know that I absolutely love soccer, so I was thrilled to learn that I could hand out some brand new soccer balls bought by Canadians through World Vision Gifts. Well, I not only handed out the soccer balls - I got to play a game with a local kids team and I have to tell you they were REALLY good...and I was really bad thanks to the elevation - we were up so high, thousands of feet to be exact! It's hard to breathe up there let alone play a game of soccer!

The kids had so much energy and greeted us with smiles and song! They also taught me a thing or two on their traditional dance. Tune into ET Canada TONIGHT to see what happened when I dropped by to spend the morning with the students and see just how they were doing.

If you want to see just how bad I was at playing soccer in Ecuador - don't forget to tune in tomorrow night for part 2 of my World Vision trip and if you want to learn about World Vision Gifts and browse the catalogue for yourself, visit their website.