Monday, March 8, 2010
Books I've read..
Every once in a while, you experience something....a book, a movie, a TV show, a song, a lecture, a chance meeting with somebody on the street...that changes you in a small way. It's not that you enjoyed the book or really liked the song or found the person interesting, but your way of thinking shifts just a bit and you are actually changed as a person. Three Cups of Tea is such a book.
This book tells the story of Greg Mortenson, an American climber who becomes disoriented when descending after an attempt at summitting K2. In his exhausted state, he wanders off his path and find himself in a remote mountain village in Pakistan. Faced with a stranger, the people of this poverty stricken village take him in, provide him with food, shelter and care and essentially nurse him back to health.
Greg is so moved by the generosity and kindness of these people (who essentially have nothing, nothing at all) that he vows to return and build a school for the town where the children can learn in a warm, safe environment. And his life is changed forever.
Once a free spirited guy who worked only as much as he needed to fund his climbing adventures, Greg becomes a man with a vision of a better world. And he works tirelessly in the most extreme conditions imaginable to bring this dream to fruition.
Greg's humanitarian work through his organization, Central Asia Institute is truly inspiring. It's amazing to see how something as simple as a place for the village women to gather and sew, or pencils, or a rudimentary bridge can change the fate of an entire town.
I really don't know a lot about Pakistan or Afghanistan, despite the United States' relationship with these two countries, which should probably motivate me to learn a bit more about them. After reading this book, I feel like I know a bit more of the people of this harsh area as well as the politics that surround them. I also saw these countries in less of an us and them way and in more of a we way; we are all people together inhabiting the same planet and some of us are in a better position to help while others are in a position needing that help.
I'm not entirely sure I could ever be as selfless and Greg Mortenson and I'm positive I could never be as brave. But his story makes me want to be a better person. His vision has made me look at the things I do on a day to day basis in a new way; how each and every decision I make can have a greater effect than just upon me. His actions make me want to live a bigger life.