This is the first reflecction from my goal of reading 40 Books in 2010.
Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin is part biography and part field manual on how to truly make a difference in the world. Relin shares Mortenson’s story, growing up as a missionary kid in Africa, failing to summit K2, stumbling into the mountain villages of Pakistan, and creating an NGO to build schools for girls in those villages. Tea is a fun read, laying out a life that takes place on three continents and is filled with deeper love, danger, failure and success than most of us can imagine.
The book climaxes just before 9/11. Just as Mortenson’s organization, the Central Asia Institute, has just begun to catch some steam, he learns of his competition for the hearts and minds of impoverished muslims: Saudi funded Wahabi Madrassas and Mosques teaching and preaching jihad.
Mortenson’s argument is straightforward: the causes of terrorism are poverty and ignorance. With a little education (it cost about $12,000 to build a school) both of these can be eliminated.
With the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan dragging on, Three Cups of Tea serves as a canary in a cole mine, sounding disaster if we do not treat the roots of our problems.