I asked Lorenzo how I can help his group: he said on the first trip, I should just get to know the country. Maybe I could bring some boxes of school materials to schools off the main road.

A little history: My American parents, not long married, had signed up to a Church World Service to distribute boxes of food in Peru. My father soon found that distributing food does not reduce hunger or poverty, so he began to get involved in family planning work. I remember a story he tells of a woman telling him in great distress that she had gotten pregnant. Family planning became his career. And that’s when I was born, at the tail end of their time in Peru.

Hmm, delivering boxes. I wasn’t convinced. But it’s best to follow instructions from someone with more experience. And then I saw Lorenzo’s basement: chock-full of donations. OK, it’s about making people feel good about giving. At the least, I could help remove a few pounds of stuff from his basement.