I just finished reading Three Cups of Tea written by David Oliver Relin, a traveling Journalist who has contributed to Parade magazine and achieved national recognition for his writing, and Greg Mortenson the director of the Central Asia Institute and also the hero of the story.
The story follows Mortenson’s life as he fails to climb the treacherous K2 mountain and instead meets some villagers from a remote region in Pakistan who end up gripping his attention and having a life-altering impact. Mortenson saw the desperate need for schools, especially girls’ schools as the rise of extremist religious schools continue to invade the land with very little effort or funding for secular education, and no funding for the education of girls.
Mortenson embarks on a nearly impossible journey of attempting to fulfill the Village of Korphe’s dreams of education for their young. After several failures and disappointments in Mortenson’s life, he ends up prevailing and even exceeding his goal of completing the Korphe school. As the director of the CAI, he completes over 50 schools for young girls in the regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Not only does this prove to be fiscally difficult, but Mortenson finds himself in a dangerous situation. On the brink of 9/11 and the shadows of the Taliban lurking around every corner threatening his endeavors, being an American in these lands is no easy feat. Especially an American opposing the extreme religious education imposed by the government.
The overall theme and lesson of this book is that one person CAN make a huge difference in the lives of those less fortunate. Mortenson started out with nothing, barely enough money for his own survival, and ended up constructing not just one but multiple schools for the children of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
He was trying to appease a tumultuous situation between the Middle East and the U.S by promoting education not war to overcome terror. This book was not only adventurous, but inspiring as well. I really admire Greg Mortenson for his compassion and faith for the youth of Pakistan and Afghanistan, especially as an American in a time when the middle eastern relations were very dangerous and widely misunderstood by a lot of people in the west.