I had been in Peru only a couple of months when I happened upon a parade down town. The parade was very long and each group of dancers was dressed in matching costumes and doing their own dance. I found out later that these groups are descendents of various Wanka tribes. This particular group was wearing black capes and each had a devil-like mask on. There is a lot of superstition in the Mantaro Valley, where the city of Huancayo is. Many still believe in Pachamama, the spirit of the mountains. In one area close to Arequipa, there were hundreds of “towers” of rocks people had built. These towers were about fifteen inches high and made by piling one rock on top of another. The reason for them is to appease the spirit of the mountain. The Catholic church has a strong influence here, so often there is a mixture of belief systems, Catholic beliefs and tribal beliefs from generations ago. For this reason, evangelization can be difficult.


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