What can one man, an American in Pakistan, do after failing to climb the infamous K29 Well, not what most would choose. Greg Mortenson built over fifty schools all over the country, not to mention establishing centers for women. In his story, Three Cups of Tea, Greg Mortenson must conquer more than the harsh landscape and climate. He must build relationships with tribes and important political figures, deal with complaints and threats, and help out the thousands of Pakistani children who don’t have schools.

This book begins with Mortenson descending after his failure of an expedition. He becomes separated from his porter, Mouzafer, and the rest of the people hiking with him. Lost and disorientated, Mortenson arrives in the village of Korphe, not his destination: Askole. The headman of Korphe, Haji Ali, is kind and hospitable to Greg, who is greatly fatigued and hungry. After resting for a few days, Mortenson returns the friendliness with a promise of building a school for Korphe.

When he returns to Berkley, California, Mortenson finds that funding for his school is not easily obtainable. Greg sleeps mostly in his Jeep, writing letters asking for money in the daytime. Eventually, a millionaire named Jean Hoerni finances most of the school’s cost. Though he is very blunt, Hoerni becomes one of Mortenson’s greatest allies.

Now Greg Mortenson returns to Pakistan, and builds not only Korphe’s school, but dozens of others over the years. He must cope with the Taliban, landslides, extreme conditions, and abduction. Three Cups of Tea is one of the greatest non-fiction books that I’ve ever read, and I highly suggest that readers pick it up, whether to peruse through the black and white photographs in the center pages, or to sit down and read all three hundred thirty one pages.


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