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Three Cups of Tea: The beginning of the Central Asia Institute

Updated on December 27, 2011
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Alicia has been a Columnist and Reviewer on HubPages for 11 years; became an Author in 2010. Perseverance has been a key to her success.

The first Central Asia Institute elementary school built in Korphe, Northern Pakistan.
The first Central Asia Institute elementary school built in Korphe, Northern Pakistan. | Source

Book Review

The Central Asia Institute was co-founded by Greg Mortenson and Dr. Jean Hoerni in 1996. The biographical account in the non-fiction book Three Cups of Tea details the roots of this humanitarian organization. Three Cups of Tea narrates the true story of how an American mountain climber, Greg Mortenson, found his life’s work in the remote regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan; after attempting to climb the mountain known as K2 in 1993, becoming lost on the Baltoro Glacier, being rescued by Mouzafer Ali, a Balti, and escorted to friendly Korphe, a tiny Balti village in Northern Pakistan where he met Haji Ali, this village’s Nurmadhar (village chieftain).

This visit and the kindness of the Korphe residents changed Mr. Mortenson’s life. It was during this initial visit where he noticed the village of Korphe did not have a school, not even an elementary school. Greg Mortenson felt as if being transported to the Middle Ages. His heart went out to the village of Korphe’s people. The Nurmadhar of Korphe, Haji Ali, explained to Mr. Mortenson how Korphe had requested a primary school from the Pakistani government, was on their list for a school, but their village was not on the top of the list so had to wait. Greg Mortenson noticing the willingness of the children to learn, finding out the “wait” meant years, and feeling grateful for Korphe’s hospitality while he healed from his climb promised Haji Ali he would bring a school to Korphe.

Three Cups of Tea explains the method Greg Mortenson, through the assistance of Dr. Jean Hoerni, used to keep his promise to Haji Ali. These positive humanitarian actions brought good American relations to Korphe as well as the building of a bridge that allowed the Korphe villagers to visit relatives they had been unable due to being separated by a chasm. The elementary school and bridge built by Central Asia Institute brought many rewards and unexpected blessings to the small village of Korphe.

These Korphe projects in remote Northern Pakistan further precipitated Greg Mortenson and Dr. Jean Hoerni, as the Central Asia Institute, to build schools in other remote Pakistani villages. These Kindergarten through 5th grade schools built by Greg Mortenson and Dr. Jean Hoerni were for girls and boys with the intention of giving the village children a chance for a brighter future; to prepare them for higher education so they could return to their villages as teachers, nurses, physicians, business owners and other blue or white collar positions that would enhance their villages; help the remote areas slowly modernize while maintaining their culture.

Three Cups of Tea further shares Greg Mortenson was in Pakistan when 9/11 struck. The authors illuminate how Mr. Mortenson’s Pakistani friends protected and helped this American continue his work of building elementary schools with the approval of the Pakistani government. This true story additionally shows how American goodwill matters in the Middle East. How in spite of Islamic Extremists (Taliban and al-Qaeda) Mr. Mortenson befriended residents in remote Afghanistan and brought elementary schools to their children too.

Graduates of the Central Asia Institute Kindergarten through 5th grade schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan, as adults have blue or white collar vocations. Most have returned to their villages after attending their country’s schools of higher learning that their villages communally afforded for them. If it were not for the Central Asia Institute and its humanitarian determination to educate the children of remote Pakistan and Afghanistan, these children may have become members of the al-Qaeda or Taliban, who are renowned for burning all books save the Koran and creating their own Islamic Extremist schools throughout Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The difficult beginning of the Central Asia Institute reminds all that one person, without being wealthy, can make a difference and keep their seemingly impossible types of promises. Three Cups of Tea is about helping others, even those unpopular to assist. Greg Mortenson, through years of humanitarian efforts, has proven there are good loving pro-peace people in the Middle East; not everyone in Pakistan and Afghanistan are Islamic Extremists with terrorist or anti-American agendas.

The Central Asia Institute continues to bring primary schools to Asian children residing in remote villages who do not have elementary schools. Highly recommend reading this New York Times Bestseller, Three Cups of Tea. This heartwarming book was definitely an eye opener; not one to miss reading.

Three Cups of Tea is very interesting. This book’s plain English moderately paced eloquent style is like reading a novel instead of the standard textbook style found in most non-fiction books. It reminds that the majority of earthlings, regardless of country, state or faith, are kind and desirous of peace. Three Cups of Tea is available at libraries, online stores and local bookstores.

For more information about Central Asia Institute please visit their website at No Internet access? You are invited to telephone toll free at 1-877-585 –7841 (if not local to Bozeman, MT) or (406) 585-7841. Other alternatives for requesting information include writing to Central Asia Institute at P.O. Box 7209, Bozeman, Montana 59771 or faxing at (406) 585-5302.


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