I’ve belonged to a few book clubs over the years, and have recently joined another one. It’s more of an excuse to get together with some girlfriends who I don’t get to see often enough, really, but I also welcome the opportunity to hear and share opinions about what we read. With the review books I constantly receive in the mail and all of the additional books I read for pleasure, what’s one more book each month?
The last three books books have been about countries and cultures who have struggled with great hardships during long-term wars, violent conflicts, and/or poverty. The book that we are reading this month, Three Cups of Tea by David Oliver Relin and Greg Mortenson, is about an American man mountain climber who has devoted most of his adult life to opening schools and improving life for small impoverished villages in Pakistan. It is a very moving tale and much better written than our last painful book, thanks to Mr. Mortenson teaming up with a professional writer with the ability to make the story flow and captivate the reader.
As I was reading the book this weekend, I kept thinking about my mother-in-law who started a school in India. While my father-in-law was conducting his doctoral research in India, she was working on writing her doctoral dissertation. The village in which they were living had no school for the children, and so she began teaching them outdoors. Eventually, the school received funding for a building, thanks to some local supporters. In addition to being a foreigner who was learning just enough of the language skills herself to stay a few lesson plans ahead and who was also writing her Ph.D. dissertation for M.I.T., she was also pregnant at the time with my sister-in-law, who was born in India. When my husband and sister-in-law were adolescents, they traveled to India with their parents. The school was still standing, and the school administrators held a reception party in honor of my mother-in-law, who had the vision and the dedication to found a school in a village that had none.