As we have been cycling along through Argentina we kept seeing small red shrines with a statue of a woman (who we wrongly assumed was the virgin Mary) surrounded by water bottles and red flags. We met an Australian cyclist who told us the fascinating history of the shrines which are semi-pagan in origin. Wikipedia has good article about it: http//en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Difunta_Correa
Deolinda Correa was an Argentinian woman with a small child who got lost while travelling in the pampas in 1840. When her body was eventually found her young child was amazingly still alive, supposedly drinking from her ever flowing breasts. From this story people started to visit her home town of Vallecito, and gradually travelling people started making roadside shrines with a female figurine, where they left water bottles to 'calm her eternal thirst'.
We've seen many of these shrines in Argentina and also a couple on the southern Carretera in Chile. Cattle drovers used to use them for a backup source of water when the weather was particularly dry.