Saturday, 9 January 2010

Three Cups of Tea

The most inspiring book I've read in a very long time, Greg Mortenson's story is of the mysterious love a human being can have for strangers, and that understated love's capacity to inspire them to do the impossible. Greg has nothing... except a United States citizenship and a heart that carries his childhood of loving, inspiring strength.

To take on the building of one school, without any personal or institutional resources, in remote Karakoram mountains below K2 seems idealistic madness... To achieve it, and the many, many schools for boys and especially for girls, in this region, is the stuff of miracles.

Well worth the read, it has opened my heart and eyes and imagination to Pakistan, and also to Afghanistan - though I gather I now need to read the sequel, Stones into Schools, for more on the ongoing Afghan story. It's pre-ordered...

I work in education; I believe in its importance for opening minds and hearts to others, to possibilities that may be creative rather than destructive. Education without love can create monsters... And so I wonder how to encourage "my" students and staff to appreciate what an opportunity they have here, and also what challenges may face them if they are willing to share those opportunities with people of different backgrounds and cultures. Greg's respect and love for his country's perceived enemies has won hearts and is transforming lives, communities, and perhaps the face of future conflicts.

I'm touched by his humble simplicity - this is no hagiography. The account of his life and work is full of his mistakes, ignorance and naivete, not to mention the sacrifices made by his wife and children - and yet, and yet... it is this very honest humility which inspires us. If he can make such a big difference, with so little resource or proper organisation (at least at the outset!) what couldn't the rest of us do if we put our minds to it!?

Well-written, intriguing insights into a part of the world hitherto known to me only in two dimensions, I want everyone to read this and be genuinely inspired to make the world a better place.

3 comments:

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