Thursday, November 26, 2009

Three Cups of Tea

That is the title of the next book club book. I have been working on it for a few weeks now and I would say it is very different than my usual choice for reading material. I would say I don't often choose to read non-fiction books. It is the story of Greg Mortenson who tried (and failed) to climb K2. When he came down the mountain he was in pretty rough shape and was nursed back to health by a remote village in Pakistan. He got to know the people in the village and realized they had need of a school, so he promised to return to build them a school. Over the next decade and beyond he built numerous schools as well as water wells and other practical things for the remote villages in Pakistan.

I found it very interesting tonight as I read and he recounted what it was like for him hearing about the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. He was in a small village in Pakistan and one of the people heard about the attacks over a shortwave radio. He told Greg that "bombs have fallen on the village of New York in America". It went on to talk about how heartbroken people were in Pakistan (a mainly Muslim nation) to hear of such a terrible attack. I will be the first to admit that I am pretty ignorant when it comes to knowledge of the beliefs of Islam. Three Cups of Tea mentions how the Koran talks about the importance of looking after the less fortunate, widows, children, etc. Greg is repeatedly referred to as an infidel, even by the people who support what he is doing in Pakistan.

I also found it interesting (and a little disturbing) to read about how the extremist Muslims, from Saudi Arabia, with all their oil money started moving into Pakistan and building schools and mosques in communities who couldn't afford to do it themselves. Three Cups of Tea talks about how poor Pakistan is because the government does not provide proper schools or education to it's people. It said that a very small percentage of wealthy people in Pakistan send their children to privately run schools. Then the government does not provide public schools to the rest. So when the Saudi's showed up and offered to build schools (aka madrassas, where the Taliban do a lot of their recruiting) the people were receptive. They sent their children to these schools where more often than not the teachers were extremist Muslims with no training in math, science or literature. They were taught combat and recruited to the Taliban. That is so disturbing to me.....maybe you already knew this, but like I said I am quite ignorant about a lot of this.

Makes me so thankful to live in little ole Saskatchewan. I can't imagine the thought of bombs dropping from the skies over our province. When I was driving to work today I saw an army truck driving the opposite way down the freeway and I thought to myself how rarely we see things like that in Saskatoon. But you see footage from Afghanistan on the news and there are all sorts of vehicles or tanks patrolling. I am so thankful to live in a free and safe country!!

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