Stones into Schools by Greg Mortenson

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Tuesday, Aug 17, 2010

Stones into Schools by Greg Mortenson, author of "Three Cups of Tea" is the most inspiring and entertaining book I have read in a long while - probably since I read "Three Cups of Tea" a few years ago. Greg's story of the thirst for literacy in Pakistan and Afghanistan, his developing relationships with the leaders of these remote communities, and helping them to build schools for their girls is an amazing story and one filled with hope for the future of their world and our world.

In Three Cups of Tea, Greg tells of his being saved by remote villagers in Pakistan after his failed attempt at reaching the summit of K2. That is where he saw children having the school lessons outside in the cold and he promised that he would come back and build them a school. The challenges of that task were more than he ever imagined, but he did finally accomplish building the school in Korphe after first building a bridge to transport the supplies.

Stones into Schools continues the story of school building. In 1999 Kirghiz horsemen from the Wakhan Corridor Afghanistan rode on horseback to Pakistan to meet Greg and request that he build a school in their remote village, Bozai Gumbad. 132 schools later, that request was met.

This book is not just about building schools. It is about building relationships. Greg learned early on that before he could accomplish anything in the remote villages, he must have “Three Cups of Tea” – meaning he must get acquainted with the locals and find out what they hoped for, what they needed. He empowers local leaders to take on the task of building their own schools. So it is not just another NGO coming in to “help”. He now travels widely speaking and raising funds for CAI and continues to work with his teams in Pakistan and Afghanistan on the various projects.

This is not only a moving story, it is well written, moves right along. There are occasionally some longer descriptive passages, but it never really bogs down.

I heard Greg speak when he was in Kansas City Ks a few years ago. He just tells his story of finding his way, following his heart, and the amazing results. If you have a chance to hear him, I highly recommend. His calendar can be found at http://www.ikat.org/events/calendar/

Quote “ This week . . . I watched Greg Mortenson, the famed author of Three Cups of Tea, open one of his schools for girls in this remote Afghan village in the Hindu Kush mountains. I must say, after witnessing the delight in the faces of those little Afghan girls crowded three to a desk waiting to learn, I found it very hard to write, ‘Let’s just get out of here.’” —Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times

Written by Sandra S.