Three Cups of Tea: One Manís Mission to Promote Peace ... One School at a Time
In Three Cups of Tea Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin tell the story of
Mortensonís stunning transformation from mountain-climber to passionate humanitarian.
The writers give us a character who is at once extraordinary and deeply human.
While hiking in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the same territories that gave birth to the Taliban,
Mortenson is confronted with the needs of children, particularly girls, who have no school.
Deeply moved, he vows to return and build them a school himself.
Most of us can easily imagine being deeply affected when confronting the needs of children
as he did. Probably many of us can even imagine entertaining the idea that we really need
to do something to improve the situation. But how many of us would actually return to this
forbidding terrain and build not one, but fifty-five schools for girls? How many of us
confront extreme need and misery and respond so concretely, with powerful conviction that
ends up changing the world?
The most obvious change Mortenson makes is that now these girls can go to school. Their
lives are filled with a whole new set of opportunities, and these authors show the girls
as they begin to see themselves differently. But thereís another contribution Mortenson and
Relin make here as writers. They invite readers into the Muslim world, a world that has been
painted with a terribly broad brush for Westerners, especially after 9-11, so that many North
Americans regard Muslims as fanatical, dangerous people. Mortenson and Relin reveal not only
the humanity of the people from this part of the world, but also the humbling generosity,
and the deeply spiritual orientation that gives them the strength to make Mortensonís mission
possible. Without the Muslim men as guides, without their help with physical labor and their
knowledge of the landscape, Mortenson could have done nothing.
Mortenson is both a man building schools, and an ambassador of peace. He shows how deep
change happens on a personal level, between individuals, and how those changes reverberate
throughout an entire culture. These two writers have educated us all about a part of the world
our own culture has attempted to demonize. Through this important book we all get to share
Mortensonís intimate view, a view so deeply rooted in knowledge and compassion, thereís
little room left for fear.
óJane McCafferty, 2007 finalist judge