Thursday, May 7, 2009

Three Cups of Tea

This is going to be one of my top 10 for 2009. I choose this as one of my E books, and because it was about one my passions, educating girls and building community. It's a true story based on the work and commitment of Greg Mortensen and the Central Asia Institute. Greg is an American mountain climber, who found his mission as a result of an injury which kept him village bound for months. He dreamed he could help his friends in the remote village by building a school. His dream was eventually realised and more. You can find out more about the work Greg and the Central Asia Institute have been doing at their website.

A couple of quotes that captured me:

'The school was buffed to perfection. Dozens of new wooden desks sat in each classroom, on carpets thick enough to shields students' feet from the cold. Colorful world maps and portraits of Pakistan's leaders decorated the walls. And in the courtyard, on a stage beneath a large hand-lettered banner proclaiming "welcome cherished guests', the speeches went on for hours beneath an untempered sun, while sixty Korphe students (from the town) squatted patiently on their heels'.

'Nobel Prize winner Amartya Sen's idea that you can change a culture by giving its girls the tools to grow up educated so they can help themselves. It was amazing to see the idea in action, working so well after only a generation, and it fired me up to fight for the girls' education in Pakistan'.

'From the air, the problems of Pakistan appeared simple. There were the hanging green glaciers of Rakaposhi, splintering under a tropical sun. There, the stream carrying the offspring of the snows. Below were the villages lacking water......The intricate obstinacy's of village mullahs opposed to educating girls were invisible from this altitude... As the webwork of local politics that could ensnare the progress of a women's vocational center or slow the construction of a school...'

This is reported to be the opening of a new school on Sept 11th 2001 in Pakistan.
'It is by fate that Allah the Almighty has brought us together in this hour', Syed Abbas said. 'Today is a day that you children will remember forever and tell your children and grandchildren. Today from the darkness of illiteracy, the light of education shines bright'.

What I loved about this book was that I could travel with the imagery, visit Pakistan through the descriptions, and revisit in my mind the village and school in India that I have worked in. One of my friends said we only read the books that help us relive our experiences or dream to live something different - one this occassion that's probably true for me.

The girls at ODAM's school in Narikudi


Karen said...

Sounds like a great book - and I bet it made you think a lot about your past and upcoming trips.

megan said...

It sounds really great. I can't wait to read this, it's been on my too read pile for a while now!