Year THREE in Zacango here we come...

Saturday, April 24, 2010

A Rezo for Flo

A short while ago we watched in awe for nine full evenings as Hizee and her friends engaged in the most beautiful form of creative play which really wasn't "play" for them at all. They held a "rezo" for Hizee's deceased dog Flo. I am still learning what a rezo is myself (and it was a great lesson to have one held in our back yard at Flo's grave). A rezo is a series of prayers for the dead. I believe the prayers are receited for nine days after the person has died and then every year on the day of their death for nine years.
I'm not sure what sparked the idea to have the rezo for Flo at this point in time (she died in October) and I'm not sure how it all began...all I know was that it was INCREDIBLY intense and ENTIRELY kid driven. At one point one of the mom's came over to tell her child it was time for bed and she told the older girls involved in the rezo that what they were doing (having prayers for a dog) was "silly" and "crazy; the girls responded that it was not "crazy" and that this was a REAL rezo.
The flowers at Flo's grave were changed everyday. Each night the kids prepared their own refreshments and bought cookies and sweets with their own money. They sang all the proper songs. They read prayers for the deceased from a special prayer book and crossed themselves with the sign of the cross during all the right places (I am told). When the final day of prayers came I was given the choice of donating a pizza or cake to the cause and I choose a cake. They ate the cake and then proceeded into Hizee's play house which they had cleaned out and had made an alter with candles and a wooden cross. The final day of the rezo involved carrying the cross to the grave.
Hizee is still singing the songs from the rezo and chanting the prayers. She told me yesterday that when the boys were laughing or "being disrespectful" at the rezo, her friend Diana had told them to look at the picture of Hizee and Flo and "think about why they were praying." Spirituality is so deeply engrained in people's lives here. How lucky Hizee is to be able to have friends such as these and to engage in such "play."
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The Makings of a Rezo

Gathering around Flo's grave before the prayers.
Making tamarindo juice to serve after the prayers
Handing out the "recuerdos de Flo" -- things to remember Flo by or thank you for coming type gifts. Below, an up colse picture of the recuerdos.
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The FIFA World Cup Comes to Zacango

A couple of weeks ago Bruce became inspired to organize a kids world cup soccer event in Zacango in honour of the real FIFA World Cup to come in June in South Africa. The kids made a mini soccer pitch in the church yard and each team consisted of three players (one from each age group 3-5, 6-8, 9-12).
The kids from art class made the flags and the teams marched around Zacango on the opening night of the tournament.

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The Games

Zam in action as goalie for his team.
Ziko during a moment when he was active in his game. He usually drifted in and out of the soccer pitch.
Hizee the star forward/
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The Closing Ceremonies

Teams line up for the presentation of prizes.
First place went to Team Mexico!
Singing the Mexican national anthem.
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Rabies Vacination Day in Zacango

Every year a vet comes out to Zacango to give free rabies vacinations to all the pups and kits! Here are some shots from this year's vacination campaign.

Miguel and his pup
Maria and Rocky
Dona Aristea and her dog
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We learnt from when we gave Orange Cat her birth control injections by ourselves that we had better come well prepared! Here's Bruce with his soccer goalie gloves on and our cat under his shirt.
This vet was amazingly quick! It was quite something to watch him in action as he injected dogs who were lassoed out of their village "territory" to come to the community hall for their shot.
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The Martens Family Hits Mexico!!!

My sister Robin, our brother-in-law Elroy, and our niece Mackenzie and nephew Cole came to visit us over spring break and we had an AMAZING time together!!! The kids were so excited to see their cousins and to simply be in there presence for 10 whole days! We started off the visit in Acapulco (where they flew into) and stayed in a villa that Rob and El rented. It was super relaxing and the kids were in their glory swimming together, playing, and composing all kinds of crazy songs and skits to perform for the adults. Highlights of our time in Acapulco included going to the beach (see collage below), eating lots of great seafoood, visiting with Rob and El, watching the kids have such a blast (and for them, having such a blast), and last but not least, watching Elroy get a face massage from a pushy massage vendor on the beach (we still cannot stop laughing over this one)!!!
After a week in Acapulco we headed to Zacango for Easter.
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Beach Bums!

We did some serious hanging out at the beach and had some serious fun!!! I got Robin hooked on "agua de horchata" -- rice and cinamon flavored water that I really need to learn how to make before we leave Mexico.
Hizee loved having her "Little Man" to hang out with on the beach.
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Easter in Zacango

We arrived in Zacango the Thursday before Good Friday. If there is one thing that we have learnt over the past year and a half in Mexico, its that religous holidays and special occasions are rarely celebrated in a small way. People go all out! This year Zacango put on a passion play, with a nightly reenacting of the Easter story starting on Good Friday and ending on Easter. Robin and Elroy and the kids were able to see the intensity of Mexican celebration and were also able to participate in the nightly Easter processions around the community.
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Hangin' Out Cousins in Zacango...

...what could be better! Zam, Hizee and Ziko loved showing their cousins their home.
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Great Sports!

Mac and Cole were great sports, getting involved in all the action in the community from donkey rides, to hikes, to wrestling in the kids lucha libre league. Here they are with their Mexican Luchadore masks that they designed. "The Great Grizzley" and "The Mightly Moose." Way to go guys!

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We miss you soooo much!!!

Goofy goodbyes! Ziko, Hizee, and I stayed home on the day that Bruce and Zam brought Rob and El and kids to the airport in Acapulco and here are some dopey-eyed shots of the goodbye hugs the night before they left.
What memories we made in 10 sweet, short days....we had so much fun! Thanks so much for coming to see us you guys!!!
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We are still very close with our host family who we lived with during language study in Cuernavaca a year and a half ago and visit them whenever we have the chance.
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Spring Fling

Hizee and Ziko participated in their kindergarten's spring program which involved dressing up and parading around the community, as well as a singing and dancing their little hearts out. While all of Hizee's girl friends dressed up as butterflys or flower princesses, Hizee was true to form in the dalmation dog costume that she picked out.
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