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three cups of tea

I just finished reading “Three Cups of Tea” by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. I started reading the book earlier this year, but couldn’t find the time to finish it up during the second semester of the school year. As it turns out, it was one of the picks for our summer reading for school. I enjoy reading all of the picks that are made each year, so will also get a chance to read “Leaving Microsoft to Save the World”.

I throughoughly enjoyed the premise of the book. In the end, people are really after the same things: Security for the their family, education for their kids, the chance to give the next generation a better life than the one before it.

The link between terrorism and the lack of these things for so many who are living lives at the edge of poverty in places between Pakistan and Afghanistan is clear. The point is made over and over again that kids who are given an education go on to provide dividends to their communities in the years that follow.

It is such a simple message that is apparently lost on our government. Through the book Greg Mortenson meets with people across our government and military, only to find his pleas for not squandering the opportunity to provide for the Afghans living in poverty, displaced by our military actions.

The double-irony is that things like early childhood education, and education in general are often squeezed at the margins in the face of things deemed more “important” by the government. In one discussion with military leaders of our country, “Dr. Greg” points out for the cost of one cruise missile he could build 20 schools. Which do you think does more to combat terrorism? He asks.

And in our country, what could those types of funds, directed towards education do to lift people out of poverty, hopelessness and desperation?

In the end, the degradation of societies and communities comes from desperation and hopelessness. When there is no hope for a better future, everything comes unraveled.

I highly recommend the book. Check out the website of their foundtation, the Central Asia Institute, for more information.

Categories: Books.

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