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."