§ion=&combo2=&text1=&text2=&SocNetUsername=&SocNetPassword=&authCode=& 7th Decade Thoughts: Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

7th Decade Thoughts

Thoughts about books, politics and history (personal and otherwise), pictures I've taken and pictures I've edited.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

Subtitle is: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time. I loved it. Reminded me of Mountains Beyond Mountains about another compulsive do-gooder, Paul Farmer, in that case in Haiti. Not sure why Mortenson is listed as author since clearly his co-writer did the writing and Mortenson is referred to in the 3rd person throughout. He undoubtedly told the stories and provided the content.

It's the tale of how Mortenson, who grew up in Tanzania as the son of missionaries, went from mountaineer trying for K2 in the Karakoram (and going home to work as a nurse in trauma centers to make enough money to go back) to humanitarian focusing on building schools for children, especially girls, in the mountains of Pakistan. When has to give up on K2, he's separated from his group and ends up in the small village or Korphe where he's taken in by the headman and becomes like a son to the family in the weeks he stays there. He takes in the culture and ends up promising to help them build a school. At home he goes looking for donations and finally finds a backer, also a mountaineer who's been active in the early stages of the semiconductor industry. Mortenson slowly learns how to work effectively in Pakistan, aided primarily by his willingness to learn the ways of the culture, to respect Islam, to dress like the people, and to make friends and keep his promises, and to seek local allies. The one time he didn't follow the advice of his original sponsor in Pakistan--who told him never to go "cold" to a new area but to get the backing of the headman, visiting his home and taking tea with him--he ends up imprisoned by terrorists of some kind in Waziristan.


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