Book Club: Three Cups of Tea by David Oliver Relin and Greg Mortenson

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.

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3 comments

  1. Okay first off – you have mentioned this hellish book twice now… what was it??

    I heard about three cups of tea & thought it was a wonderful premise. Haven’t gotten around to it yet, though – maybe I’ll suggest it to my book club.

    My cousin & her husband, who also taught in Brazil, & Guatemala, started a school in Costa Rica last year because they thought the indigenous people were getting the shaft. They noticed that all of the rich, foreign transplants were getting the best educations, but also, that a piece of native Costa Rican culture was getting lost in the process of catering to outside cultures. So they started their own school that incorporates all of it. Their goal is to teach the kids their place in their home, community, country & the world. They are very hands-on oriented & experiential. They also keep native Costa Rican cultures and traditions alive. I am so proud of them. This is their second year & they are growing & doing great! http://www.lapazschool.org/

  2. Liz, your cousin and her husband sound extraordinary. We need more people like that in this world!

    The book was The Carrion Vine by Erane Elizabeth Scully. I hesitate to even call it self-published because there were only limited copies printed up by a local printer, and it is difficult to even purchase online, much less in a bookstore. This true account of a mother and daughter in Poland during the time of the Russian invasion during World War II and the sad journey that they travelled, eventually becoming prisoners of war, was dramatic and sad, but the book suffered from being so poorly written that it was a struggle to read. It would have benefited significantly by a ghost writer and a professional editor.

  3. Interesting article…….For anyone who loves writing, and sharing their stories – you’ll love this Web site StoryPassers.com! You can start your own story and have your friends contribute to it, or you can contribute to other peoples stories. Either way, you will have fun in this story sharing experience. Go Share Today!

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