Three Cups of Tea: Book Review by Kathy Coffey – September 3, 2012

CFN – I don’t remember a time when I was not in the middle of reading a book. Every once in a while I come across one that I really want to share, for all kinds of reasons. “Three cups of Tea “is such a book. The book gave my view of the world a paradigm shift. It gives you an intimate picture of the common people of Pakistan, their acceptance of life as it is and an ancient wisdom that I found intriguing – there were also other characters not so nice!!.


In ‘Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time”. Greg Mortenson, and journalist David Oliver Relin, chronicle Mortenson’s mission to build schools in remote regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan.  The book is a fascinating easy read, hard to put down. You are left with a glimpse of another culture, a different way of thinking. Mortenson lived in Tanzania until his teenage years when his missionary parents moved back to the USA. Probably how he developed a respect for other cultures without being judgemental and why he was successful.


When Mortenson failed to reach the peak of Pakistan’s K2, the world’s second highest mountain, his life took a turn in the road. When he began his climb he was grieving for his sister who died from an epileptic seizure. He had planned to leave something of hers on the summit as her memorial. He never made it to the top. On the way down he was separated from his group and ended up experiencing the culture of the remote areas of the region. He watched as the village children tried to hold classes outside scratching lessons in the dirt. He made the village a promise that he would build them a school, a fitting tribute to his little sister. This proved easier said than done

The first part of the book tells of his fund raising attempts to fulfill his promise. Where others missing the expertise to arrange and plan such an endeavour may have given up, Greg persevered. The story tells of his return to the US selling everything he had and living in his car and working as a nurse trying to save enough money to buy the materials to build the school.


“The book traces how Mortenson kept this promise (and many more) in the high country of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Mortenson was up against considerable odds. Not only is the region remote and dangerous, it is also a notorious breeding ground for Al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists. In the course of his work, Mortenson was kidnapped and threatened with death; he endured local rivalries, deep misunderstandings, jealousy, and corruption, not to mention treacherous roads and epic weather. What kept him going was his passionate belief that balanced, non-extremist education, for boys and girls alike, is the most effective way to combat the violent intolerance that breeds terrorism. To date, Mortenson’s Central Asia Institute has constructed fifty-five schools, and the work goes on”


Check out the information on his school projects at


The Library should have a copy, if you are looking for a positive book to read this is it.

Greg Mortenson with School Children

Pictures are courtesy of the Central Asia Institute

Coffeys Coffee

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