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Three Cups of Tea, The Confluence Book Club Selection

This is my first experience at hosting The Confluence Book Club.  And I feel a little awkward suggesting a book I haven’t read yet. I keep thinking what if I hate it?  What if they hate it?  But, isn’t that part of the give and take in a vibrant book club?  So here it goes:

Taking our inspiration from Riverdaughter’s post Saturday morning (Saturday: A little thing for the girls), the next selection for The Confluence Book Club (the week of February 23-28) is Three Cups of Tea, by Greg Mortensen:

From my own observations, and remembering a childhood proverb from Africa, there is a saying that “if you educate a boy—you educated an individual, because he often leaves the community to find work, and may never return or send back money, but if you educate a girl—you educate a community, because when the girl becomes a mother, she will remain in the community and instill that value in her community. – Greg Mortensen

gultori

Mortenson advocates girls’ education as the top priority to promote economic development, peace and prosperity, and says, “you can drop bombs, hand out condoms, build roads, or put in electricity, but until the girls are educated a society won’t change”.

Mortenson wasn’t looking for a mission.  He thought he was just going to climb a mountain:

On July 24th, 1992, Mortenson’s younger sister, Christa, died from a massive seizure after a lifelong struggle with epilepsy on the eve of a trip to visit Dysersville, Iowa, where the baseball movie, ‘Field of Dreams’, was filmed in a cornfield.

In 1993, to honor his sister’s memory, Mortenson climbed Pakistan’s K2, the world’s second highest mountain in the Karakoram range.

After K2, while recovering in a local village called Korphe, Mortenson met a group of children sitting in the dirt writing with sticks in the sand, and made a promise to help them build a school.

From that rash promise, grew a remarkable humanitarian campaign, in which Mortenson has dedicated his life to promote education, especially for girls, in remote regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

. . .

The book traces how Mortenson kept this promise (and many more) in the high country of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Mortenson was up against considerable odds. Not only is the region remote and dangerous, it is also a notorious breeding ground for Al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists. In the course of his work, Mortenson was kidnapped and threatened with death; he endured local rivalries, deep misunderstandings, jealousy, and corruption, not to mention treacherous roads and epic weather. What kept him going was his passionate belief that balanced, non-extremist education, for boys and girls alike, is the most effective way to combat the violent intolerance that breeds terrorism. To date, Mortenson’s Central Asia Institute has constructed fifty-five schools, and the work goes on.

The Three Cups of Tea website has an abundance of information that includes a readers guide and an extended author interview.

Reviews of the book mention concerns with the awkwardness of the writing.  But, Greg Mortenson’s story is so compelling that when the Kansas City, Kansas Public Library scheduled Mortenson to speak tickets ran out months before the event.  And fans flew in from all over the country.  The library hosts author events all the time but we  had never seen such an enthusiastic response from the public.

So there is some indication that this is a book people like to talk about. . . . (I’m nervous, OK? — I still haven’t read it myself!)

To give everyone time to buy or borrow Three Cups of Tea and read the book, I’m setting a general date of February 23-28 for our discussion.  And I hope we’ll have a rousing-good discussion!