Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace ... One School at a Time

And they did it with something that is basicly worthless in our society - pennies. But overseas, pennies can move mountains

Bashir paused to watch a live CNN feed... Bashir was struck silent by the images of wailing Iraqi women carrying children's bodies out of the rubble of a bombed building.

As he studied the screen, Bashir's bullish shoulders slumped. "People like me are America's best friends in the region," Bashir said at last shaking his head ruefully, "I'm a moderate Msulim, an educated man. But watching this, even I could become a jihadi. How can Americans say they are making themselves safer?" Bashir asked, struggling not to direct his anger toward the large American target on the other side of the desk. "Your president Bush had done a wonderful job of uniting one billion Muslims against America for the next two hundred years.

By afternoon, a dense crowd had gathered around the Bedford as word spread that an enormous infidel in brown pajamas was loading a truck full of supplies for Muslim schoolchildren. ...Mortenson's size-fourteen feet drew a steady stream of bouncing eyebrows and bawdy jokes from onlookers. Spectators shouted guesses at Mortenson's nationality as he worked. Bosnia and Chechnya were deemd the most likely source of this large mangy-looking man. When Mortenson, with his rapidly improving Urdu, interrupted the speculation to tell them he was American, the crowd looked at his sweat-soaked and dirt-grimed shalwar, at his smudged and oily skin, and several men told him they didn't think so.

Haji Ali spoke. ‘If you want to thrive in Baltistan, you must respect our ways. The first time you share tea with a Balti, you are a stranger. The second time you take tea, you are an honored guest. The third time you share a cup of tea, you become family, and for our family, we are prepared to do anything, even die. Doctor Greg, you must take time to share three cups of tea. We may be uneducated but we are not stupid. We have lived and survived here for a long time.’ That day, Haji Ali taught me the most important lesson I’ve ever learned in my life. We Americans think you have to accomplish everything quickly…Haji Ali taught me to share three cups of tea, to slow down and make building relationships as important as building projects. He taught me that I had more to learn from the people I work with than I could ever hope to teach them.

Haji Ali taught me the most important lesson I've ever learned in my life...We Americans think you have to accomplish everything quickly. We're the country of thirty-minute power lunches and two-minute football drills. Haji Ali taught me to share three cups of tea, to slow down and make building relationships as important as building projects.

Haji Ali taught me to share three cups of tea, to slow down and make building relationships as important as building projects. He taught me that I had more to learn from the people I work with than I could ever hope to teach them.

Haji Ali taught me to...slow down and make building relationships as important as building projects.

I don't do what I'm doing to fight terror. ... I do it because I care about kids. Fighting terror is maybe seventh or eighth on my list of priorities. But working over there, I've learned a few things. I've learned that terror doesn't happen because some group of people somewhere like Pakistan or Afghanistan simply decide to hate us. It happens because children aren't being offered a bright enough future that they have a reason to choose life over death.

If we Americans are to learn from our mistakes, from the flailing, ineffective way we, as a nation, conducted the war on terror after the attacks of 9/11, and from the way we have failed to make our case to the great moderate mass of peace-loving people at the heart of the Muslim world, we need to listen to Greg Mortenson. I did, and it has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

If we try to resolve terrorism with military might and nothing else, then we will be no safer than we were before 9/11. If we truly want a legacy of peace for our children, we need to understand that this is a war that will ultimately be won with books, not with bombs.

If you really want to change a culture to empower women improve basic hygiene and health care and fight high rates of infant mortality the answer is to educate girls.

I’m no military expert, and these figures might not be exactly right. But as best as I can tell, we’ve launched 114 Tomahawk cruise missiles into Afghanistan so far. Now take the cost of one of those missiles tipped with a Raytheon guidance system, which I think is about $840,000. For that much money, you could build dozens of schools that could provide tens of thousands of students with a balanced nonextremist education over the course of a generation. Which do you think will make us more secure?” (295)

In times of war, you often hear leaders - Christian, Jewish, and Muslim - saying, 'God is on our side.' But that isn't true. In war, God is on the side of refugees, widows, and orphans.

In times of war, you often hear leaders—Christian, Jewish, and Muslim—saying, ‘God is on our side.’ But that isn’t true. In war, God is on the side of refugees, widows, and orphans.

I've learned that terror doesn't happen because some group of people somewhere like Pakistan or Afghanistan simply decide to hate us. It happens because children aren't being offered a bright enough future that they have a reason to choose life over death.

I was just an average bloke. It was the media that tried to transform me into a heroic figure. But I've learned through the years, as long as you don't believe all that rubbish about yourself, you can't come to too much harm.' - Sir Edmund Hillary

Jahan took a breath and composed herself. “When I was a little sort of girl and I would see a gentleman or a lady with good, clean clothes I would run and hide my face. But after I graduated from the Korphe School, I felt a big change in my life. I felt I was clear and clean and could go before anybody and discuss anything. And now that I am already in Skardu, I feel that anything is possible. I don’t want to be just a health worker. I want to be such a woman that I can start a hospital and be an executive, and look over all the health problems of all the women in the Braldu. I want to become a very famous woman of this area,” Jahan said, twirling the hem of her maroon silk headscarf around her finger as she peered out the window, past a soccer player sprinting through the drizzle toward a makeshift goal built of stacked stones, searching for the exact word with which to envision her future. “I want to be a… ‘Superlady’” she said, grinning defiantly, daring anyone, any man, to tell her she couldn’t. p. 313

Just as the Torah and Bible teach concern for those in distress, the Koran instructs all Muslims to make caring for widows, orphans, and refugees a priority.

Once you educate the boys, they tend to leave the villages and go search for work in the cities, but the girls stay home, become leaders in the community, and pass on what they’ve learned. If you really want to change a culture, to empower women, improve basic hygiene and health care, and fight high rates of infant mortality, the answer is to educate girls.

Osama, baah!" Bashir roared.

"Osama is not a product of Pakistan or Afghanistan. He is a creation of America. Thanks to America, Osama is in every home. As a military man, I know you can never fight and win against someone who can shoot at you once and then run off and hide while you have to remain eternally on guard. You have to attack the source of your enemy's strength. In America's case, that's not Osama or Saddam or anyone else. The enemy is ignorance. That only way to defeat it is to build relationships with these people, to draw them into the modern world with education and business. Otherwise the fight will go on forever.

Terror doesn't happen because some group of people somewhere . . . simply decide to hate [others]. It happens because children aren't being offered a bright enough future that they have a reason to choose life over death.

The Balti had as many names for rock as the Inuit have for snow.

The first time you share tea with a Balti (Baltistan people), you are a stranger. The second time you share a cup of tea, you are an honored guest. The third time you share a cup of tea, you become family".

The older I get, the more I appreciate my childhood. It was paradise.

The tune was too ingrained for Mortenson to consider the novelty of this moment- an American, lost in Pakistan, singing a German hymn in Swahili.

Together, the two began the kind of conversation that flows seamlessly, unstoppably, each fork begetting another branch of common interest, a conversation that continues until this day.

Trust in Allah, but tie up your camel.' Sign in Skardu

We all sat there laughing and sipping tea peacefully, an infidel and representatives from three warring sects of Islam. And I thought if we can get along this well, we can accomplish anything. The British policy was ‘divide and conquer.’ But I say ‘unite and conquer.

What we are trying to do may be just a drop in the ocean, but the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.

You have to attack the source of your enemy’s strength. In America’s case, that’s not Osama or Saddam or anyone else. The enemy is ignorance. The only way to defeat it is to build relationships with those people, to draw them into the modern world with education and business. Otherwise the fight will go on forever.