Monday, February 15, 2010

Three Cups of Tea

One Man’s Journey to Change the World, One Child At A Time
By Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin

I just finished reading this book and find myself still in awe of it. If you've not read the book, it is a must read. Check out some information here. Greg Mortenson established the Central Asia Institute whose mission is described as follows:
Central Asia Institute’s mission is to promote and support community-based education, especially for girls, in remote regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan. The philosophy is to empower the local people through their own initiative. As of 2008, Central Asia Institute has successfully established 130 schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan, which provide (or have provided) education to over 51,000 students, with a emphasis on girls’ education. Over the first decade of CAI’s evolution, our programs and projects expanded to several regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan with an emphasis on education, health issues, environment and cultural preservation.
I came away from reading this book with three things:

(1) A deep, intense need to see this part of the world.
It isn't a realistic dream, really, but I want to see this region. No part of my imagination can come up with a vision of what these mountains must look like. I can't picture the severity. It has to be an extreme combination of rugged, raw, unadulterated beauty and a harshness beyond my ken. I even looked at Google images for the region and I still can't see it.

(2) A realization that I do not truly comprehend the power of education.
It seems so simple. Education opens the doors of the world. I know that is true, but this country (for the most part) takes education for granted. I recently had a family member lament on how horrible homework is. It doesn't often occur to us how a lack of education is a root cause of so many struggles. This book did an amazing job at hammering this home for me. It also made me more sure than ever that the long term solution to terrorism is to give the future a better option.

(3) I do not do enough. is unrealistic to think I could have imagined and brought to fruition what Greg did, but still...I do not do enough.

More about the CAI and Pennies for Peace.


habladora said...

I've heard a lot about Greg Mortenson recently and am interested in reading his book. I really do feel that education is one of the linchpins of a healthy society, and sometimes feel like we are working to dismantle our educational system in the U.S. without realizing the vast impact that weakening education will have across the community. In GA, we've just be asked to cut an additional $300 million from the university system of Georgia, which will mean larger class sizes for students, whole programs cut, new enrollment caps, and fewer training opportunities for faculty. If I understand correctly, GA faces a $500 million deficit and is trying to make-up 60% in cuts to education without raising any taxes. Of course, cutting funds to education would not be the only way to cut the state's budget deficit - a recent study estimates that the state could make over $350 million in new revenue by enacting a $1 tobacco tax, a tax which polls indicate 73% of voters support as an alternative to cuts (and over 50% of smokers are reported to support the measure as well). We'll see if this proposal is seriously considered in the coming weeks.

Ivy and Haley said...

Every once in awhile I remember how deeply powerful education is. It helps me, when I whine about homework to remember how lucky I am.

Come visit me.