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Snapshot of Peru – Spanish is the official language of Peru, though Quechua and Aymara are co-official in some regions of the country. About 80% of Peru’s population is Catholic, with another 12% being Evangelical. Many Peruvian towns have their own unique festivals and celebrations, featuring music, dance, and special meals. Marinera dancing is a popular feature of many of these festivities. Folk instruments such as the charango, cajón, and zampoña are popular, though modern styles such as rock and cumbia are also popular. Soccer is Peru’s most popular sport, though volleyball is also somewhat popular. Peruvian cuisine varies from region to region, though the staples of meat (beef, pork, and chicken), rice, corn, chili peppers, and potatoes are common ingredients in meals throughout the country. Some popular dishes include lomo saltado (fried meat served with french fries, rice, and onions), anticuchos (barbecued cow heart), and ceviche (raw fish in citrus juice and served with chili peppers). A modified version of Chinese food, known as Chifa, is also popular.
There are 4 stakes and districts located within the Peru Iquitos Mission. The area is very rural, and as a result the Church is primarily concentrated within the area’s largest cities of Iquitos, Tarapoto, Pucallpa, and Moyobamba. Despite the Church’s relatively small size in the region, the work has been successful enough that the area became its own mission in July 2013. There is a CES Institute located in Iquitos, and the area is served by the Lima Peru Temple.
While culinary influences from other parts of Peru are also present, the Amazonian area has several distinct dishes. Due to Iquitos’s location near the Amazon River, many types of fish are commonly served, often either grilled or in soups. Tropical fruits such as camu camu, guanabana, and mango are also common. Juane is a traditional dish containing a mix of rice, meat, egg, and spices that is wrapped in bijao foil and boiled for over an hour. Another popular dish is Tacacho, a dish made using mashed plantain slices and chicarones (fried pork fat). Tacacho is usually served with a fried sausage known as chorizo.
Due to its remote location, the only way to get to Iquitos from other cities is by plane. As a result, transfers to other cities are done by plane. Within Iquitos, missionaries will get around either by walking or by using public transportation, which includes buses and autorickshaws.
Iquitos is located very close to the Amazon River, and is prone to flooding thanks to the area’s heavy rain. Excessive heat can also be a problem; heat waves caused by low humidity combined with windchill effect can cause a perceived temperature of up to 113 degrees Fahrenheit. Missionaries should be aware of the signs of heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses on particularly hot days. If flooding occurs, seek high ground away from the flood zone. Contact local leaders to know what to do and where to go should a flood take place.
Iquitos’s location near the Amazon makes it an area where many indigenous practices can still be seen. Members of native tribes often visit the city to sell crafts or perform traditional dances. The area also has an extensive mythology and folklore as a result of this influence.
Carnaval is a popular celebration in the city. Another popular event is the Fiesta de San Juan (celebrating the area’s patron saint – John the Baptist), which takes place on June 24. The festivities are marked with dancing and traditional food meant to represent John the Baptist’s beheading.
Amazonic Spanish is spoken in Iquitos. Amazonic Spanish is distinct in using somewhat different grammar than typical Spanish, as well as different pronunciation. For example, [f] and [x] are allophones in the first position of words, which causes the name “Juana” to be pronounced as /fana/. Many terms from indigenous languages are also used.
Iquitos has many interesting sites and attractions. The city is located very close to the Amazon River, providing for beautiful views. The city is also home to interesting historical sites from the colonial era, such as the Casa de Fierro and the Iglesia Matriz de Iquitos. The Barrio (or neighborhood) de Belén is also a popular tourist site within the city, due to the homes in the district being built on stilts or with the ability to float for when flooding occurs.
The area near Tarapoto is known for its waterfalls, as well as petroglyph ruins.
Jirón Napo #478
The work is going so well in Peru that the Church recently created the Peru Iquitos mission! Check back in a year to hear what the first missionaries in the Peru Iquitos mission have to say!
Did you serve in the Perú Iquitos Mission? If so we want to hear from you! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and share your unique experiences!