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Presentation Slides & Transcript
Three Cups of Tea
About the author
Greg Mortenson was born to Lutheran missionary parents in Rochester, Minnesota.
Through the leadership of the Lutheran Church, Mortenson's father, Irvin, was a fundraiser for and development director of the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre, Tanzania's first teaching hospital.
Mortenson's mother, Jerene, was the founding principal of International School Moshi.
Mortenson spent his early childhood and adolescence in Tanzania, East Africa, where he learned to speak Swahili fluently.
He attended Ramsey High School in Roseville, Minnesota, from 1973 to 1975. After high school, Mortenson served in the U.S. Army in Germany from 1975 to 1977 as a medic and was awarded the Army Commendation Medal.
Following his discharge, he attended Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, from 1977 to 1979 on an athletic (football) scholarship.
Mortenson graduated from the University of South Dakota in 1983 with a bachelor's degree in liberal studies and an associate's degree in nursing.
born in St. Cloud, Minnesota on December 27.
Younger sister, Christa died of severe epilepsy
Embarked on K2 climb
Rescued by the Korphe village
Promised to return and build a school
Raised funding for the school
Central Asia Institute (CAI)
Pennies for Peace
Korphe school opened
Built over 131 schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan
Three Cups of Tea
Significance of the book
This book was written to to present Mortenson as a man who wants to help people, depicting his mission as an effort to bring education, fresh water, and medical care to remote regions of Pakistan.
Greg Mortenson: co-author of the book, co-founder of the Central Asia Institute, and noted humanitarian. Mortenson receives help from Pakistani villagers when he becomes lost after a failed mountaineering expedition. He vows to repay them by building a school in the village. Mortenson fulfills the promise after meeting many challenges, and over the next ten years he carries out a wide variety of projects in Pakistan. He gains worldwide renown for his humanitarian efforts.
Haji Ali: village chief of Korphe and one of those who inspired Mortenson’s mission. Mortenson stays in Haji’s home on his trips to Korphe, and over time Haji explains the customs of his people, helping Mortenson to a better understanding of human relationships. Haji shows his commitment to educating the children of his village when he pays a bribe of twelve valuable rams to a nearby chief in order to ensure construction of the Korphe school.
Jean Hoerni: a successful scientist, avid mountain climber, and philanthropist who endows the CAI. Hoerni funds Mortenson’s first project to build a school in Korphe, then helps Mortenson found the CAI, providing an endowment of $1 million. When Hoerni becomes ill with cancer, Mortenson brings him pictures of the Korphe school and personally cares for him during his final hospitalization.
Tara Bishop: the daughter of a noted climber who falls in love with Mortenson and becomes an important part of his mission. Tara is a psychology graduate student when she meets Mortenson at an American Himalayan Foundation dinner. She is instantly attracted to him. They marry six days later and subsequently have two children. Tara maintains the family home in Montana while Mortenson travels on CAI business
Syed Abbas - a conservative Shiite cleric who is instrumental in lifting the fatwa against Mortenson. Syed Abbas comes to respect Mortenson’s work, and the two collaborate on a project to provide water for a large refugee encampment.
In 1993, to honor his deceased sister's memory, Greg Mortenson went to climb K2, the world's second highest mountain, in the Karakoram range of northern Pakistan. After more than 70 days on the mountain, Mortenson and three other climbers completed a life-saving rescue of a fifth climber that took more than 75 hours. The time and energy devoted to this rescue prevented him from attempting to reach the summit. After the rescue, he began his descent of the mountain and became weak and exhausted. Mortenson set out with one local Balti porter by the name of Mouzafer Ali to the nearest city, but he took a wrong turn along the way and ended up in Korphe, a small village, where Mortenson was cared for by the villagers while he recovered.
To pay the remote community back for their compassion, Mortenson said he would build a school for the village. After a frustrating time trying to raise money, Mortenson convinced Jean Hoerni, a Silicon Valley pioneer, to fund the Central Asia Institute. The mission of CAI, a non-profit organization, is to promote education and literacy, especially for girls, in remote mountain regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Hoerni named Mortenson as CAI's first Executive Director. In the process of building schools, Mortenson has survived an eight-day armed 1996 kidnapping in the tribal areas of Waziristan, in Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province; escaped a 2003 firefight between Afghan opium warlords; endured two fatwās by Islamic clerics for educating girls; and received hate mail and threats from fellow Americans for helping educate Muslim children. Now Greg has built over 60 schools for girls and boys in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Theme of the story
“Turning a bad situation into a positive one.”
Mortenson is disappointed that he will not reach the summit of K2, but that failure leads him to the village of Korphe, where he realizes that building a school would be a better monument to his sister than placing her necklace at the top of the mountain and where his mission as a humanitarian begins.
“Education is the key to positive change.”
Education for girls is a powerful and cost-effective tool for improving the social and economic conditions for everyone in rural areas. Mortenson also recognizes that education may be the best way to counter the spread of terrorism and violent strains of Islam.
Foreshadowing: A man is crossing over the gorge in a box suspended above the river from a steel cable. He methodically pulling himself across the cable rather than spend the half day of walking upriver to cross the bridge above Korphe. However, even though this is the fastest way, it is also the most dangerous. This foreshadows the need of the village for a bridge and Greg’s determination and success in building one.
In Balti culture, having tea with someone symbolizes trust and respect, and the act of sharing tea is how the Balti people become familiar with strangers.
“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.” Haji explains to Mortenson that he must make time to share three cups of tea, by which he means Mortenson needs to build relationships with the Balti people if he wants to accomplish his goals in the region.
60 Minutes made the following allegations:
The events recounted in Three Cups of Tea - Mortenson getting lost on the way down from K2, stumbling into Korphe, and promising to build a school - did not take place.
The story recounted in Stones into Schools about Mortenson's capture by the Taliban did not occur. His purported kidnappers state he was a guest, and the Taliban did not exist in the country at that time.
Schools that the Central Asia Institute claims to have built either have not been built, have been built and abandoned, are currently used for other purposes such as grain storage, or have not been supported by CAI after they were built.
The amount of money Central Asia Institute spends on advertising Mortenson's books and paying the travel expenses of his speaking tours, including hiring private jets, is excessive relative to other comparable charitable institutions