Brain Dead Zombie

Three Cups of Tea

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This here post is about the greatest book in all of the world! I think while I am writing this post I may just have to read this book again (something I have never done). Luckily I took some notes and highlighted while I was reading, so that is a good place to start out at first. To really have any great input I will have to read it again though! Once again, took me forever to blog this and thus I have not only read the book a second time, but also read the sequel Stones Into Schools and went and saw Greg Mortenson talk at Keene State college in NH. I found out he was speaking there and got some friends to go and see him with me. We went to the kids lecture and then hung around for the adult lecture afterward.

Anyways, spoiler alert.

K2 South Face from Concordia

Three Cups of Tea is a book with an absolutely wonderful message that is desperately needed at this time in the world. Being someone who both loves the outdoors and helping others, I can relate so well with Greg Mortenson and his quest, I only hope I can be as successful as him at it. The story goes like this: Greg Mortenson begins his real purpose in life when he starts his climb attempt at K2. K2 is the second highest mountain on the planet, at an amazing 28,251 feet. K2 is one of many mountains in the Himalayan Mountain Range and is located on the border of Pakistan and China. Like any mountain of this magnitude, it is obviously a very dangerous hike. The statistics show numbers around 1 person dying for every 4 people who do in fact summit. While these numbers may not seem too astonishing to some, you must remember that the only people that will even dream of attempting K2 are the very best of the best. Even with these people being the best of the best, most of them do it with a whole heck of a lot of support. Sherpas, or pack carriers, carry the brunt of the work for a lot of these hikers and without the gear being carried by these hired hands, most wouldn’t even make it past the first base camp. These sherpas will come into the story later, but now you must understand the environment we are facing here. So as Greg Mortenson makes the trek up K2 in memory of his sister everything is looking good, until it all goes wrong which is so typical of hiking. The mountain gets the best of him and the crew he is with, having to turn around and save his friends life Greg is unable to reach the summit. His troubles do not end here though, as he stumbles down the mountain, exhuasted and cold he gets separated and lost. He manages to stumble into a Pakistani village off of the mountain. To weak to continue from there the people of the village offer their usual hospitality to nurse Greg back to health. Once Greg has enough strength to get out of bed he wishes to explore the village some. This is where Greg discovers his purpose and everything changes for him. During his exploration of the village he asks to go and see the school, upon arriving at the school he is appalled. The “school” is no more than kids drawing in dirt, with little organization or education to it. This just does not sit well with Greg Mortenson and he vows to return to build a school. While he makes this promise, Greg has literally nothing left of his bank account, enough to get him back to the U.S. and that’s about it. After all of the hospitality that these people gave him, he can’t turn his back on them though and sticks to his promise and gets to planning how this will happen and how in the hell he is going to raise the money necessary. This is no easy task though and Greg spends a good amount of time trying to raise money through donations, hard work, and not spending money on anything. He eventually scrounges up enough money to build the school and returns to the village only to be faced with another dilemma. To build the school they need to get the supplies there first, which requires a bridge. So Greg is faced with more money raising in the necessity to build a bridge to build the school. Greg does finally get this school built but his mission is far from over. From his journey in building this school and all of the people he has met Greg decides to set up the Central Asia Institute, an organization dedicated to aiding these areas in the building of schools, education, and especially education for young girls. There is a lot I have left out of this synopsis, and this is two fold. Me telling you the whole story would be wrong and I would not tell it nearly as well and the parts that I have left out really make the story interesting and show the courage and amazing work that Greg has done!

Greg Mortenson has recently written another book titled Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan and I will certainly have a post on this later.

Why is Three Cups of Tea so good?

There are a lot of reasons why I absolutely loved this book and could not cover every piece of it ever. Unless you live under a rock you know of the constant fighting that has been going on in the Middle East forever. More recently you know how we as a country have invaded two countries in order to promote and stabilize democracy as well as provide national security for us and the world. While we may have done some great things by going into these countries we are just setting ourselves up for failure and participating in an endless war. The history and memory of people in those countries are too strong and this makes the U.S. efforts a losing one. Whenever civilians are killed by a bomb they will remember this and hold this against us forever. For all of the good we can accomplish we are just building more enemies on a daily basis. The only true way to solve the problem is to eliminate it. This can not be done by any amounts of weapons in the world. Taking from V for Vendetta ideas are bulletproof. The ideas held in this country, as right or wrong as they may be, still exist and won’t go away. The ideas have been around forever and will continue to be for a long time unless a change in policy is made. Greg Mortenson’s tactic has real changing ability. If he goes in and builds a school he builds opportunity. Even if one child at that school takes to education, enjoys reading and education this could be a huge change. That kid is now educated and instead of turning to the Taliban or drug cartels may opt instead to try and get educated, to better his community, or get out of this situation and try his luck elsewhere. If those schools weren’t there then what do the kids do? They do nothing and get recruited by the Taliban, or the Taliban offers to educate them at their “schools” which are basically brain washing and zombifying centers to get more warriors.

Information from the Three Cups of Tea website:

If only we were listening to Mortenson’s plan of dropping books instead of bombs. I am certain this would be a more effective technique than we are using now, bombing people only creates more enemies.

Quotes

A picture is worth a thousand words. I feel like a good quote is worth even more, so here are my favorites from the book:

“Osama had something to do with it, too,” Mortenson said.

“Osama, baah!” Bashir roared. “Osama is not a product of Pakistan or Afghanistan. He is a creation of America.    Thanks to America, Osama is in every home. As a military man, I know you can never fight and win against someone who can shoot at you once and then run off to hide while you have to remain eternally on guard. You have to attack the source of your enemy’s strength. In America’s case, that’s not Osama or Saddam or anyone else. The enemy is ignorance. The only way to defeat it is to build relationships with these people, to draw them into the modern world with education and business. Otherwise the fight will go on forever.”-Mortenson’s helicopter pilot Bashir in Pakistan. A former military man and personal pilot for a previous Pakistan president, Bashir gave Mortenson the true reason for the terror threat. Pg 310

To listen to Greg Mortenson discuss the book on NPR, like I heard at Keene:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=101780727

For the Three Cups of Tea website and information:

http://www.threecupsoftea.com/

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