Three Cups of Tea

Three Cups of Tea, written by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin, is a true story of a man's mission and determination to promote peace in one of the most dangerous lands in the world by building schools and educating its people. Since it was first published, the New York Times bestseller has been republished in almost 20 languages, and now includes a youth edition as well as a children's edition named Listening to the Wind.

Determined to conquer the world's second tallest mountain, K2 in remote Pakistan, in memory of his little sister, mountain climber Greg Mortensen was crushed when he failed. Disillusioned, he lost his way on the way back down and stumbled upon a tiny village where he was nursed back to health by the village chief. There in the village of Korphe, Mortensen made a promise that changed his life as well as the lives of thousands of children, including girls, in the rural areas Pakistan and Afghanistan.

He promised to build the first school in Korphe, Pakistan, and through a series of events as well as a deep passion for the people, he co-founded the Central Asian Institute (CAI) through which he built 54 more schools in other rural areas of Pakistan as well as Afghanistan.

But it is not what Mortensen went through – surviving a kidnapping, countless death threats and long spells of separation from his family – or the result of what he did that drew the book's large legions of fans. It was the respect for the villagers' culture and the many examples of him silently and selfless serving a group of people he hardly know that touches the heartstrings of the books' millions and even billions of readers. In the same way, it was the patience, determination and love required to do what he did that made a group of people from a vastly different culture accept him as one of their own.

"Here (in Pakistan and Afghanistan), we drink three cups of tea to do business; the first you are a stranger, the second you become a friend, and the third you join our family, and for our family we are prepared to do anything-even die."
– Haji Ali Korphe Village chief, Karakoram Mountains, Pakistan

In all, Mortensen's tale is extremely well-documented in this book by veteran journalist David Oliver Relin and is definitely worth a read accompanied with a cup of tea.

Related links:
Three Cups of Tea website, Three Cups of Tea Amazon, Eat Pray Love book review
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