Every day, the elderly herder Matilde and her dog Lucas tend her herd of sheep and alpacas. She spins wool by hand, and skins an alpaca that was attacked by a fox. Her daily life is steeped in the gospel; the Bible is her faithful companion.
The Aymara community, to which Matilde belongs, has long lived in the mountains and high plains along what are now the borders of Chile, Bolivia, Peru, and Argentina. After the Spanish evangelization campaigns, a second wave of conversions has reached this community in the last few decades. Now the Aymara believe in Heaven rather than Earth.
In the prologue we hear that, according to their adopted belief, Earth is Satan’s domain. The once revered natural world has been demoted in status—it is now regarded as an unpredictable and threatening place. One outcome of this worldview is that Matilde is convinced that the fox that attacked her alpaca was sent by the devil. All the while, this elderly woman is surrounded by magnificent natural scenes: the majestic mountains stand like silent witnesses to a connection that was lost long ago.