Boulder City Magazine® May 2010 Issue
by Fran Haraway
Three Cups of Tea and Stones Into Schools
by Greg Mortenson
“The first time you share tea with a Balti, you are a stranger. The second time you take tea, you are an honored guest, the third time . . . you become family, and for family we are prepared to do anything, even die.” - Hadji Ali
Boulder City Magazine®
|Greg Mortenson surely must subscribe to Robert Frost’s lines, “I took the road less traveled / And that has made all the difference.” Mortenson, after an unsuccessful attempt to climb K2 got lost (twice!) and ended up in the remote Pakistani village of Korphe. His less traveled road resulted in his building a school for village children who, before his coming, used the ground for notebooks and sticks for pencils. It also resulted in Three Cups of Tea, a bestseller which morphed into a military training manual.
Mortenson’s task was not an easy one. Being kidnapped and being caught in a feud between opium warlords were just two of his setbacks. Still, he remained true to the African proverb: “If you educate a boy, you educate the individual, but if you educate a girl, you educate a village.”
At the beginning of Stones Into Schools, the information-packed book which catches us up to date with Greg Mortenson’s passion, he ponders the success of Three Cups of Tea. He is, by nature, such an introvert that, “In the Christmas pageant of life . . . the only roles for which I would ever consider auditioning - are the ox and the donkey.” But ironically, his life now consists of public speaking engagements and fundraising activities.
He had, however, promised a local warlord, Sadar Khan, that the mountains which had seen so much bloodletting would also see children being educated, and he didn’t let 9/11 or the rise of the Taliban or a terrible earthquake stop him.
Although it hasn’t been easy, Mortenson’s efforts have resulted in the establishment of over 131 schools serving over 58,000 students, mostly girls, as well as scholarships, teacher training programs and girls’ vocational programs.
If I were still teaching and you were my student, I would make this book required reading. It’s that important.
To learn more about these books, visit www.ikat.org or visit the Boulder City Library.
If you are interested in this book or would like to learn more, contact me at info@bouldercity magazine.com.
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