Sunday, April 6, 2008

Three Cups of Tea by Mortenson and Relin

image from LibraryThing
Our April book club book.

What an amazing book! I don't think you can read this book and not be changed. I went right to the CAI website and bought 2 copies of the book to give to others to read, and because a donation is made to the CAI (Central Asian Institute).

Now let me tell you about the story. Greg Mortenson is a failed climber... He was attempting to climb K2 when he got separated from the other hikers and his porter. He was discovered after a cold and miserable night only to be separated a second time. This time he ended up in the village of Korphe. A tremendously remote and incredibly poor northern Pakistani village. As he wandered in he was made to feel so welcome. He was sheltered, fed and sent on the correct path, but not before making a vow to come back and help the building them a school.

So begins Greg's life. He is the child of missionaries in Africa - his dad helped begin a medical school and his mom a different school. But, Greg was a bit of a maverick - not really having a profession - trained as a nurse, but spending most of his time, energy and money climbing, preparing to climb or returning from mountain climbing.

Suddenly, he had a new purpose. He raised the money and returned to the village a year later ready to build the school...but Korphe really needed a bridge to cross the deep river first. And Greg learned his first lesson - listen to the people. Their most important need and his were not quite the same...This was followed by many other lessons - living in a Pakistani world as a Pakistani, not an American, wisdom comes from many different people - often those we don't expect and PATIENCE - with others and with ourselves.

These lessons have carried him across the ocean countless times - through the wilds of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Congress. He founded an organization called the Central Asian Institute to build schools and women's centers in this remote and volitale part of the world. Through his hands on approach to the people both in Asia and here he has successfully built dozens of schools. He has educated girls in a male-dominated world. He has put a face on Muslims in Asia. He has become the voice of reason in the "War on Terror." His philosophy is that education breaks down barriers and leads to true peace. Education and relationship building is changing the world.

The book does not make Greg Mortenson out to be a saint. Rather it shows you his limitations alongside his incredible gifts - just like the rest of us. It makes you believe that each of us has the same potential. He is a reluctant hero...that makes him all the more endearing

Now - I read this and feel guilty for being stressed by the pressure of report cards and life in small town Iowa. But, that is missing the real meaning of htis book. This is an actual hero - and he is inviting us to change the world with him. By helping out this cause, we can be a part of the solution.

This is an amazing and empowering story!!!

I would recommend it with as many stars as there are to offer!1

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