Zuni Pueblo Week 2

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San Fernando Cathedral team from San Antonio, Texas was such a joy to work with this week! These teens were so enthusiastic about serving the Zuni community and praising God! I have never seen a more energetic group of people! These teens worked their hardest to complete the volleyball court; we finished digging it up and creating the perfect dimensions! Our teams also worked on completing various clean-up tasks around the property (St.Anthony’s Catholic Church of Zuni). We helped the lovely church janitor, Alvin, take out all of the cement that held the mud bricks in. He then would go behind us and put brand new cement in! It was amazing to be able to see the transformation of the groups from the day we arrived at Zuni until the two weeks when we finished! One of my most treasured memories during these two weeks was helping the teens to get motivated to work in this nasty heat! So, I would have challenges because we all know there is no greater motivation to work than “who’s the best” challenge! I had swing set competitions, who can collect the most brush competitions and who can clean up these areas the quickest competitions. The teens LOVED my antics and actually we got many of our jobs done a lot quicker because of it!

The heat and sun were getting to me! 

We were able to celebrate the Fourth of July on the Reservation with our group of teens which was really exciting! We had so many water games planned for our teens especially since it was so HOT OUTSIDE! Our group could not escape summer’s heat, that’s for sure. So, as we were getting much joy out of our rotating water games, the teens thought it was not fair that we didn’t have to play (my CMT team) and that we were not the ones getting wet. They revolted! We had a water balloon fight, just intended for us to throw the water balloons at the teens and they revolted by filling up buckets and throwing the buckets on us as well as shooting random water guns at us (no idea where those came from!). It turned out to be an amazing day, enjoying each other’s company and laughing!

The time at the Zuni was very special and ended with a very special experience. The week of Fourth of July, the Zuni culture was to celebrate their sacred and religious rain dance. My team was beyond thrilled when we were asked to join the celebration, traveling into their sacred hills to be observers. We were not allowed to take any videos or photos as the community holds this moment to be so sacred that you must be there to experience it- photos/videos could not do it justice so why take them. They actually told us that they police would break our phones if they see them out…yikes! So, my team and I walked over to the hills and found a spot to watch. You must wait for hours as the Cocinas (“priests”) decided when to walk and by the time they get to us they would have already walked five miles. We sat around for 2 hours in the hopes of seeing them then just as everyone was getting discouraged we heard a low rumble of chanting. We were able to finally see the beautiful ceremony.

These were women bringing offerings of corn flower on their heads for the Cocina's for the rain dance! 
The Cocinas and grandfathers/fathers of the community would dance (cultural dance and walk) and chant as they made it to the center of the hill where the rain dance would begin. While they were processing, the women of the community would take their hand-made bowls of corn flower and put it on the shoulders of those men processing. The corn flower represents “holy water” and has been a sacred item since forever within their community. As the women put the corn flower on the shoulders of the men, they are blessing them. The men were COVERED in corn flower; their traditional garments were covered by the corn flower, covering the men from head to toe. After the procession, the men went into the center of the hill, chanting, singing and dancing until about 5:00am. It was a very intimate moment to be bystanders viewing this holy and sacred traditional ceremony. And wouldn’t you know it that the Zuni Puebla had been in a 5 month drought, I’m sure you could guess what happened during the Rain Dances all night…RAIN!  

No words, photos or videos could ever describe the beauty of what we were able to fully and intentionally witness…the Zuni culture holds tradition, religion and family in the highest regards- I think our society outside of the Reservation could really learn a lot from this beautiful culture! I learned the importance of living in the moment from this beautiful culture! 


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