Author: Greg Mortenson
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Challenges: Women Unbound (13), POC (24), MUS Moms book group
FTC Disclosure: I borrowed this book from my school library
Summary (from the inside flap): Over the past sixteen years Greg Mortenson, through his nonprofit Central Asia Institute (CAI), has worked to promote peace through education by establishing more than 130 schools, most of them for girls, in remote regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan. The story was told in...Three Cups of Tea. Mortenson's philosophies about building relationships, empowering communities, and educating girls have struck a powerful chord.
In 1999, Kirghiz horsemen from Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor rode into Pakistan and secured a promise from Mortenson to construct a school in an isolated pocket of the Pamir Mountains known as Bozai Gumbaz. Mortenson could not build that school before constructing many others, and that is the story he tells in this dramatic new book.
Review: I have rated this book a 4.5 out of 5 stars, not because the writing is the best or because I loved every word of what I read, but because it is so important, interesting, captivating, and sincere.
The truth of the matter is that I didn't read every word of this book. I'll admit that the passages about the history of the region, the warring factions, etc just aren't my thing so I skimmed them. But, I read the rest with rapt interest. I am so intrigued as to how Greg Mortenson and his colleagues work with the local leaders, families and children to make these schools a reality. They are up against insurmountable obstacles, but don't seem to let that detour them. The descriptions of travel in Afghanistan and Pakistan alone are enough to tire one out!
Educating a community in secular schools seems like such a simple and obvious solution to religious fanaticism, yet Mortenson is one of the only (the only?) one doing it. What I wish everyone could read is the descriptions of the Afghan men living in remote villages who so badly want their daughters educated. It is a far cry from the images we see in our media. The dedication of everyone that Mortenson has working for him as well as the people who help to build the schools is very impressive and humbling. It makes me think about what I have done to better my community. Yes, I am a teacher, a librarian, a mom, and a good community member, but when did I last go beyond myself and truly make a difference in the life of someone who was not my charge or my direct responsibility?
How do you feel about the idea of helping in your own community or a community far away?