Friday, June 20, 2008

Three Cups of Tea - Finally!

One man's mission to promote school at a time. Don't ask me why I've been putting this book off for so long. I have this terrible prejudice that, if "everyone" is reading it, I probably won't like it. In this case I was dead wrong. I can't say enough about Greg Mortenson and the things I've learned about him in this wonderful book that was, interestingly enough, first recommended to me while I was on a Paris subway chatting up the gal sitting next to me about books.

It must be difficult being married to a man whose vision is so great that he often can't see the forest for the trees. Don and I were having this discussion throughout the week in regard to Gandhi ( he finally saw the movie ). I also happen to be reading a non-fiction book about the last days of Imperial India, the Mountbattens, Gandhi and Nehru, called Indian Summer by an Oxford educated historian. The Gandhis were only 13 years old when they were betrothed so it's fair to say that she had no idea what would be asked of her in the years to come and my heart has often gone out to her. Today if one doesn't share one's spouse's ambition a woman has options. Then, in India, she had none.

Tara Mortenson on the other hand, came from a family of mountain climbers, risk takers, and socially responsible people, so when she met Greg she knew what he was about and loved him unabashedly for it. His heart was in the tiny Baltistan village of Korphe where he had been nursed back to health after losing his way on a return from nearing the summit of K2. Intent upon building the first school for girls in this little village as a way of showing his gratitude, Greg began what would become his life's work. More on the institute that he founded and manages can be seen at his blog:

What I love so much about this book is the number of people it has reached with the message that education, not war, is the only answer to permanently fighting terrorism around the globe. Mortenson was jobless, homeless and ridiculed for his dreams but with perseverance and some great luck he has managed to build, at last count, more than 60 schools in the Pakistan and Afghanistan nether regions; schools that will teach their young people to be engineers, nurses, teachers or just better citizens of the world, who won't succumb to fear and intolerance when preached to by the Taliban. Along the way, he met and we too get to meet, an amazing cast of wonderful, unselfish people who prove that one person CAN make a difference. What an upper! Beth, our manager at the library, will be leading a book discussion on Three Cups of Tea next Fall. Read it and join us if you can!

1 comment:

Mistress of the Post said...

I have been thinking about reading this book and after reading your post I will move it up a few notches on my long to read list.