I met Josiah a couple of weeks ago through my partner who mentioned to me a friend of his who has a little boy who LOVES Zozobra! Josiah is from Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo and he loves his traditions and dances, but he also has a liking for Zozobra. During the last feast day at the Pueblo, I attended the dances and was asked to go eat at Josiah’s families house for feast.

 

How could I resist a fantastic meal with a young man who loves Zozobra as I do? Josiah, introduced himself to me and asked if I would be interested in viewing some of his Zozobra art, I obliged. Josiah then proceeded to draw me a Zozobra and after agreeing on a price, I bought his art.

Josiah, continued with allowing me access to his “to do list” to review on his construction of his Zozobra. Detailed and outlined like a professional project manager. One of his aunts was trying to locate video of Josiah to show me his dance of fire (who, by the way, does a perfect interpretation of the Fire Dancers Dance) that he does before he sets his Zozobra on fire (under parental supervision, of course).

At this point, I’m thinking, “who is this kid?” but then I thought of my bestie Ray, who’s been involved with Zozobra since about the same age as Josiah and the similarities of these two individuals, so I had to invite Josiah to the stuffing of Tio Coco and to meet the Zozo Family!

This past week I decided to text and leave a voice mail for Josiah as Tio Coco asking him for his help to spread his gloom for this special event (whom Josiah’s great aunt and grandmother is cooking for this special event also). Yesterday, Josiah joined me to help with the stuffing of Uncle Gloom and the look on his face was PRICELESS. After stuffing was complete, Josiah’s mother, text me a photo of a piece of work Josiah was inspired to start after his meeting with Tio Coco.

It’s moments like this that make me proud to be human, foremost, but to know that I may be helping the future leader of the Zozobra team and seeing the joy it brought to his face and overall well being is a bit overwhelming.

I just wanted to share this story with you, not to gloat or tell you what I do with my free time, but more for the fact I want you all to know the positive power of Zozobra has on our community, children and all their talents and to all the mom’s and dads who support their kids and their dreams. Cheers.

Plus, I want you to welcome Josiah to our Zozobra Family and you will be seeing some great things from this young man.

Keep shining Josiah, my new friend.