Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Power of the Individual

For anyone who has stopped believing in the human spirit, the joy of service, and the power of the individual this book is for you. Or even if you believe in all that and want a good reminder of how it is done, then this book, "Three Cups of Tea" delivers.
Basically, in 1992 Greg Mortenson failed in his attempt to climb to the top of K-2. Exhausted, he stumbled into a small remote Pakastani village, where he was taken care of. He was surprised and shocked to find out that kids gathered for school in the open air and studied without a teacher. The village couldn't afford to pay 1.00 a day to hire one. He promised to return and build a school. In an effort to rasie the funds, and without any knowledge of even the basic functions of a computer, he wrote to hundreds of rich people and celebrities and only received 100.00 for his efforts. He sold all that he had and made a little over two-thousand. He needed 12,000. This story tells how with that beyond meager beginnings, he eventually was able to build nearly 80 schools and is still going strong. He learned the customs and traditions, worked with the people to accomplish unsurmountable odds. It really is a thrilling adventure and one everyone should read.

One thing that stood out to me, is Mortenson's belief that educating a girl is the way to change society. By educating a girl, you educate a family, and a village . . . and so on. His schools now are mostly built for girls.

The title of the book comes from this great line. "Here (in Pakistan and Afghanistan) we drink three cups of tea to do buisiness; the first you are a stragner, the second you become a friend, and third, you join our family, and for our family we are prepared to do anything--even die."
Haji Ali, Korphe Village Chief, Karakoram Mountains, Pakistan

If there were more people like Greg Mortenson, then peace could be more than a dream.

1 comment:

Josi said...

You're the second person that has given this book such rave reviews. I'll have to pick it up.