Don Mariano is an elder in the Q’ero community of Charkapata, a Cusco province high up in the Andes. At an early age he became a Pampamesayoq apprentice.

He is recognised as a Kurak Akulleq and is an acknowledged teacher and ceremony authority. He specialises in pulse reading, working with the feminine as well as in the ceremony of Haywarikuy – ‘offerings to reach the earth’ – also known in Spanish as despachos. As a paqo he heals through despachos and coca leaves’ readings and he is renowned for his expertise to diagnose through reading the patient’s pulse.