The best friend abuse continues….

7 05 2011

Yep, you guessed it. I somehow managed to convince yet another good friend to come visit, a friend who is also a physical therapist, a friend who is also super-dooper creative.  And of course, those of you following along know, I would definitely take advantage of said strengths… she came with a mission. 

She came to Colombia armed with an AWESOME reverse walker that we got for a little girl (22 months old) here in Cali.  Lets start by saying this little thing won me (and pretty much everyone she meets) over from square one.  She is not able to talk or move very well because of her very high muscle tone throughout her whole body…. but man can she smile. 

Tell me she is not adorable!!!

And she gives really good kisses too.


She is very intelligent and interested in moving and exploring and doing normal 2-year-old things… and she was making so much progress in the short time I was here (and REALLY started making gains with her new braces– THANKS CASCADE!!) , as soon as Courtney committed to coming I started work on finding a walker for her to bring. (and for those of you wondering…. customs was a breeze for Courtney, no major hang-ups like the brace trafficking incident).

So let’s get right down to it.  The before and after videos (“after” being just 4 days of therapy…)


AFTER (with lots of her friends cheering her on!):

We were able to work out a way that she can continue to receive physical therapy two times per week (with the walker and braces) and this will be supplemented by some of the marvelous and amazing volunteers here at Chiquetines throughout the week.

But don’t you begin to think for one second that is all… I also had to capitalize on Court’s creativity.  As we were working with Libia, one of the super-involved and committed volunteers at Chiquetines, I was once again reminded (by Courtney’s fresh physical therapist eyes) the dire need for positioning devices here.  When Kristi was here, we had talked about making something for all the little babies that just lay in cribs. Tiny babies that need boundaries to feel secure and comfortable.  It rips your heart out to see these little tiny babies just kind of sprawled out in their cribs, many who do not have the strength or the neurological maturity to organize their bodies in an appropriate position yet.  It really makes you just want to pick them all up and do nothing but hold babies all day.  Next best thing, make some positioning devices for them. 

So this is our best, one-day replication of a bendy-bumper.  These pillows have a little rod that allows them to be bent and shaped in the appropriate manner for babies of all sizes and all positions. I think that the process of making these pillows is a perfect demonstration of my life the past few months here in Colombia.  And here is why:

1. This was a community project— from start to finish, Courtney and I not only worked on it, but we engaged Magnolia and two of her friends and family members within the apartment complex that have sewing machines.  I can’t even begin to tell you how many random people have helped me with random projects (most of the introductions organized by the mastermind socialite…seriously, this lady knows everyone in Cali) Magnolia.

One of Magnolia friends helping us sew

2. Creativity is the key– we had the idea in our head, that was the easy part. Finding the materials and getting this baby off the ground took some serious creativity. We used cable, packing foam, and styrofoam snow (that little tiny stuff) some soft/cozy blankets and lots and lots of duct tape.

3. I have absolutely no idea what I am doing a very large percentage of the time– as can be deduced by the fact that I thought we needed to buy 2 kilograms of styrofoam foam to fill 3 body pillows.  False… we needed about a fifth of ONE bag.

Court and 2 Kilos of styrofoam snow

4.  It is amazing how easy it is to get rid of 1.75 kilograms of tiny foam balls.  The cleaning lady here at Magnolia’s just so happened to need to stuff 15 pillows. Lesson here is that there are always people out there who need the stuff you want to get rid of.  Living the lifestyle that I have here in Colombia, this relationship… this ability to throw nothing away but instead find someone (usually someone Magnolia knows) who needs it is so quick and easy.

There is a good chance Magnolia is calling someone to do a favor for me as this photo was taken

5. A little thing can go a long way— this was really a very simple project.  We did not make nearly as many pillows as we would have liked to… but it was so amazing how much it helped some of the little fellers here.  I am continually reminded how taking the time to do the small things can have a really profound effect.

Pre-positioning device


ahhhh.... much better (post positioning device)


This little guy is tiny, and way too cute not to post!!!

 Courtney, you are so talented and funny and pretty and nice (and darn smart too!) Thank you so much for all the help along the way!

 So with that I bid you goodnight. One more day in fair Cali and then I am off to Costa Rica– wow, six months has really already come and gone. Thank you so much all of you who have been following me along this amazing journey (especially those who comment on my blog… golly I love those comments… but also those of you who have sent emails, thoughts, prayers and messages via my mother.)






2 responses

7 05 2011

Wow she looks awesome walking with the walker and braces! Good job girls!

10 05 2011
Mama Juan

This is so cute of the little girl and the walker. You have made a total difference in their lives. These pillows will help the babies so much and is
something the workers can do for the babies each day. Isnt it fun to have
friends to brainstorm with!!
Love you, mama

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