Two men butcher a cow at the house of Abdon Peranchiguay on the anniversary of his mother's death on the island of Teuquelin. This lies off the coast of a larger island called Chiloe that is itself off southern Chile. The only inhabitants of Teuquelin are the Peranchiguay family whose descendants arrived there two hundred years ago. Now only a few elderly people, women and children live there. The men and youth have all left in search of work. Those left behind make a living by harvesting Luga, an algae that is used in the production of shampoo and nappies.