4th Annual SuperKids: Run for Orphans

3 06 2013
Hello all!!
Well… its that time of year again.  We are excited to announce the date of the 4th annual SuperKids 5K: Run for Orphans.  Race will begin Sunday August 11, 2013 at 8:00.  The race will be part of the amazingly fun Hometown Days events.  Also, perhaps the best news of all, we are thrilled to announce the return of the silent auction generously organized by the Lutheran Women.   Let the festivities begin!!
Here are the details:

Date: Sunday August 11, 2013

Registration: 6:30-7:30 a.m.

Race Start Time: 8:00 a.m.
Location: Strasburg Valley Bank

Price: Pre-registration (T-shirt guaranteed)

online: $25.00

mail: $25.00

Day of Race: $30.00 (T-shirt while supplies last)
Prizes awarded to the top males and females in the following age groups: (Under 19) (20-29) (30-39) (40-49) (50-59) (60+)
Online Registration:
Remember, if you can’t be here… you can still support the cause as a Spirit Runner for SuperKids or sponsor and help provide valuable resources and education to support all the fantastic kiddos Gladney Center for Adoption and SuperKids workswith around the globe.
Mail-in registration: registration
Sponsorship Packet: Sponsorship packet_2013

Email me at: kodell42@gmail.com with any questions. Send all registration forms or sponsorship commitments to:

PO BOX 335 Strasburg, CO 80136

Happy Running!!

One and Done

4 09 2012

I can ‘t believe how the time flew by- one week. Done.  Here I sit at home on my couch… my head full of memories and swimming with ideas and possibilites for the future.  It has been a real week…. that is the best way I know how to describe it, real.  Every moment full of raw imperfection. It was a breath of fresh air.  It has definitely pulled me right back in… rejuvenating the certainty that these people and these experiences have been brought into my life for a reason.  Here is a very quick photo montage of the adorable kids and the eclectic city of Cali. Both of which hold an incredibly special place in my heart.

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Thanks for following. Until next time.



2 09 2012

It wasn’t all babies and gait trainers and hospitals and orphanages… there was a little tourist time too.  On Friday night we went to a show that is best described as salsa meets the circus called Delirio. It is quite an espectaculo! And Abby and I were quite the spectacle. As you enter the show you go this kind of “red carpet” experience and are handed drinks (chivas and aguardientes… not for the faint of heart) and have several photo ops.  And if you are two gigantic curly-headed girls, the photo ops are aplenty!











Saturday was filled with shopping and driving tour of Cali.  Mercedes, who you all might remember as Negra, Magnolia’s good friend that I lived with last year, has moved to a super fancy high-rise on the hill overlooking all of Cali. We made sure to stop there! Here is a picture of the view from her balcony.











It was amazing to be in that setting, but it was also an amazing representation of the disparity of wealth in Colombia.  There we were in this fancy pants apartment (much nicer than anything I have ever lived in… not sure that is saying much though:) ) But immediately surrounding this huge new building were old dilapidated buildings like these:

The day was capped of with something long overdue: the mango taste test.  I am, well a mango aficionado of sorts… or better put I want to be one.  I love mangos.  And have obsessed over them several times in previous posts.  What amazed me when I got here last year was to learn that there are so many different types.  Its like apples back home.  Any typical grocery store or market is sure to have at lest 3-4 different kinds of mangos.  I was really not even sure which ones are the type we usually eat at home. So last night Magnolia and one of her friends helped me put it to the test.









And the winner is: Tomy- very sweet, not as many of those little stringy bits that get stuck in your teeth… and it was huge.

I had such a great time with my all my friends here in Colombia.  Here is a picture of my most loved Colombia Mother, Magnolia (as requested by my friends at CMC) who helped make this short trip so productive!! Mil gracias, te quiero y nos vemos muy pronto.


Toddlers, Toddlers, Everywhere

31 08 2012

There is a place on Earth where you can’t help but feel loved.  I am not going to say it is necessarily a happy place… but it is a pure place, a raw and very real place.  It is full of mischief and wonder. It is the playroom/playground for the toddlers at Chiquetines.  It is a complete and total madhouse! It is 10-12 toddlers left alone to their own devices.  Well I should not say that exactly. They are casually supervised, that would be my best description.  But seriously, it is like the lion’s den… but they are some darn cute lions.  Watching from afar you are sure to witness everything from group wresting matches to sing-alongs.  They will have made sticks, plastic bottles, baby doll heads and anything else they can get their hands on into toys… and they will eat the rest.  At any one moment you will find one crying.  But with all this chaos,  the more amazing thing is that there is only one crying.  This something that is immediately notable in orphanages… its takes a lot to make these kiddos cry.  Bumps on the head, falling face first, getting bit, scratched and hit… these little dudes don’t even bat an eye.  It’s really sad actually, sort of a learned helplessness. Crying never really got them anywhere or any attention… so they just seem to stop doing it one day.

But when you enter, when you join them… everything changes.  You become a human jungle gym.  You get kissed, slobbered on, dove over. And when you take out the camera… get ready to experience even more joy.  Nothing pleases these kiddos more than seeing a picture of themselves, even at this age. There is so much personality, so much curiosity, so much love in these babies.  You immediately pick out the brave ones, the shy ones, the jokesters. You see little tiny people forming with each moment.  And in this moment, they want nothing more than to just be with you.  Its pretty much the most amazing feeling ever.

Human Jungle Gym












Just too darn sweet.












Look what we found!
























Toys are fun.












I sort of fell in love with this precious little guy. And he loved helping me take lots of pictures!!













Baby D playing outside with his new shoes and braces. They really help him stand and walk.












I like them a lot.


Strike… and rally

31 08 2012


Yesterday, the public bus system went on strike. It was a fiasco.  Roads were blocked by the many buses that stopped traffic by driving through town in a huge pack.  Thus, there were very few buses left to take people anywhere.

So today the city of Cali gravelled and begged its passenger’s forgiveness by providing free service all day. It was a fiasco.  There were SOOOOO many people trying to get on the bus in the afternoon.  The capacity of a large bus is supposedly some 160 people.  I am pretty sure we had that many in the front half.  Abby and I were literally smushed between people to such a degrees we couldn’t support ourselves.  Thus, when the bus stopped abruptly I smushed Abby…. and Abby (also tall, probably like 5’10”) smushed the 4 foot something little old lady in front of her.  And then we both started giggling and we couldn’t really get off her.  When the whole thing was over, Abby meekly said “perdon” and gently patted her on the top of the head.  I have never laughed harder.

Here’s a picture of the gentle blonde (curly-headed) giants on the packed bus… the people beside us look miniature, but I assure you, they are normal sized Colombians.













Yesterday, Magnolia (being Magnolia) helped me get things organized to go and see my little buddy (I’m gonna call her G from here on out) in the hospital.  With a little fanangaling and telling the guard at the door I was a student he hesitantly let me in what appeared to me as the back door entrance to the place.  I traveled up to the 5th floor with the caregiver who was on duty to stay with G during the day.  Level 5 is the pediatric infection area.  My friend G has had huge and profoundly deep pressure ulcers in her left leg that lead to a very serious case of osteomyelitis.

I got to her room (a tiny 8 by 8 room with a child sized hospital bed a plastic chair and a TV) and there she was… sitting on her bed.  She is not allowed to leave this room by the way because she is still on “isolation.” She looked at me with complete and utter shock in her eyes.  It took about 10 minutes for the shock to wear off, or maybe it was the UNO that made her feel comfortable. But soon, she was back to her old self: laughing, cheating at UNO, laughing again.  We had a photo session with my camera (she LOVES taking pictures) painted our fingernails and played some mean UNO.

But there was a sadness despite the fun we were having.  The stress of so much hospitalization on top of the challenges of her disability and obviously all the emotions that come with being neglected by your family, feeling like no one “wants you”… all these things have obviously taken a toll on her mentally.  She has always been a child that loves adult attention, but a little of her light has gone out.

There are so many questions about what will happen when she is finally discharged from the hospital.  Chiquetines is not equipped to handle teenagers so now that she is 13, she will have to go somewhere else.  But where? And will these people address all the needs that she has?  Not just the physical needs of having Spina Bifida, her foot ulcers, etc.  but also address her mental rehabilitation.

So here I present the RALLY… this little girl, my sweet friend G, needs to be adopted. She needs to be rescued from this cycle.  I know this is a huge and difficult task because of her many challenges.  But this girl wants to be loved more than anything!! And in the meantime, we need to get a sponsorship going. We need to make sure she gets to a place that will treat her as a whole person and help her develop skills that will allow her to be an independent adult.  We need to rally, we need to fight. She needs someone to fight for her.

And just so you can see how stinking adorable she is… here are some of the best shots from our photo shoot:

oh look... thats interesting... over there

oh look…. that looks interesting… over there



It was a pretty serious photo shoot.


The heartaches of International Aid

29 08 2012

My adorable buddy who is now in the hospital

I woke up this morning feeling, well that feeling. Kind of a mix of sadness, guilt and well…. heartache I guess. Its just the challenges of international aid, but being here such a short time has made things feel very concentrated and intense.  I was supposed to get to go to the hospital this morning to see a little girl (well, she’s a teenager now) I worked with a ton last year. She has had a really rough year and has been hospitalized over 3 months now. It would have made her day/month maybe (and mine too) if I could see her. Apparently there are issues with the MIO (the bus transportation system) so the person who was supposed to meet me and take me to see her can’t get here. So that is number 1.  Really I think its just sort of icing on the cake for what is really bothering me this morning.

Many of you may remember all the hard work we put into creating and implementing ProjectPlay at Oscar de Scarpetta (an orphanage). It was running perfectly when I left and the adolescent girls were thrilled at the possibilities of work… and more than that, earning a pay check.  I attended their first group meeting when they were planning their first outing.  They were filled with ideas and hopes and well… they were just normal teenage girls planning a huge slumber party. It was really amazing.  Unfortunately, logistical issues were not running as smoothly as the day to day operations.  There was a huge restructuring for the Colombia program at Gladney and at the same time an equally huge turnover of staff at Oscar.  The result, a frustrating stalemate… bottom line, the funds could not be transferred from Gladney to Oscar to support the program.  The physical therapy students that were supervising the program were not getting paid nor were the adolescents in the program.  There was no money changing hands to keep the program running. Soon, from what I have heard, it just sort of disintegrated.  The new staff at Oscar didn’t know much about it and thus were not extremely motivated to try and get it off the ground.  And Gladney had little in-country support to make the contacts necessary to get things running from their end.

But all that doesn’t matter when you are one of the adolescent girls putting their heart and soul into this project… with the anticipation you are finally going to get some freedom, make your own decisions, earn some plata (cash).  They were so disappointed.  And I can imagine, very confused and let down.  I am sure they got little information about why the program stopped or if it would continue again. Magnolia told me that every single time she has gone there since, these girls chase her down and ask if I will come back and start the program again.  Every single time.

It really breaks my heart to be yet another adult that disappointed these kids, that let them down, that didn’t follow through on their side of a commitment. They have experienced that all to much already in their short lives.  Magnolia and I decided that it is probably best if I don’t go there to see them… to many false hopes and expectations.  Even if the connections were in place to get funds transferred, there is no way I could get things going again in this short amount of time.  And bottom line, the connects aren’t in place. I really don’t know if its the right decision and it honestly hurts my heart to avoid seeing them, but I guess (I hope) it is for the best.

I have learned so much in my involvement with Gladney, the frustrations of international aid. There are so many obstacles to successful sustainable change.  So here I sit, in my pajamas on  my bed…. wishing I had more than a week to be able to actually get somethings done. To really help. To make this ache in my heart and cry in my throat go away.


Food fight!!!

29 08 2012

Use your imagination here. Imagine if you will, feeding over 15 toddlers at the same time.  No, no, no, its not just you.  There are 3 of you…. 3 caregivers that have to keep all these kiddos rounded up, in their high chair and fed.  To put it lightly, its an impossible task.  The only hope of keeping up with the demand these caregivers have is slopping heaping spoonfuls of food in one kiddos mouth after another. Some kiddos attempt to refuse, but these attempts are quickly thwarted by getting a quick spoonful shoved in their mouth.  They get fed… but it’s not always pretty.   I would actually say its one of the most stressful moments throughout the day. Abby, the occupation therapist that has been working here at Chiquetines has been fighting the good fight, the food fight, to try and make things a little less stressful for the kiddos.

Here’s a glimpse:

All lined up and ready to get started…








I think this little guy got tired of waiting his turn…











So did he… this poor little guy passed out for a while in the saucer before he got his lunch…











Here’s Abby helping this little guy with oral motor issues have an enjoyable meal









And for those of you wondering what I, Keely O’Dell, was doing during all this chaos.  The answer would be loving on these adorable little things… oops.









Also, we went to Fundamor (another orphanage) today and the little boy that I had met last year is still there and definitely will be able to use the kidwalk when the little girl at Chiquetines is done with it.  I couldn’t be more feliz….