Friday, December 28, 2007

Three Cups of Tea

I'm a veracious reader. I was the kid in class that got on the teacher's nerves because I was lost in the world between the pages. H has learned that when I'm reading, he must say my name before he asks or tells me something. As many books as I've read, I sometimes forget and might begin to reread one before I realize I've read it before. I also couldn't tell you much about the thousands of books I've read. Some stick out in my mind, others were simple reads that just occupied a few hours of my time.

For the past four days, I've had my nose in a phenomenal book: Three Cups of Tea. If you want to read a book that will change your life, get a copy of this book. If you want to read a book that will shake your soul, GET A COPY OF THIS BOOK. I'm a proud American--this book will challenge your belief in the goodness of our political system.

Patricia Polacco wrote a book title Christmas Tapestry. The main idea is that God has a divine purpose and everything in life is woven together in a beautiful tapestry. I like to think that I have an impact on my students' lives. That all the time and effort I put into my job, all the love I feel for my students, all the energy I spend on them, will somehow come to good for them. I hate all the beaurocracy that comes with public education, but I believe, in the deepest parts of my heart, that I'm somehow making an impact on the future of our country.

Nothing I do will EVER compare to Greg Mortenson. If you've never heard of him, google his name. Take ten minutes, right now, tomorrow, next week, to learn about him and the impact he is having on our world. He's an American hero. He is single-handedly having more impact on the war on terror than the past 6 years have had with the billions of dollars our government has spent protecting us. ***

Greg Mortenson has dedicated his life to building schools in rural Pakistan and Afghanistan. Since 1993, he has established and supported schools in the most rural parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan, in spite of wars, hostile armies, and religious fatwas (vendettas, decrees).

I'm pretty dense, so it took me about 200 pages before I realized how in the world these schools would help eliminate terror: These schools are secular. These schools are for boys and girls (which Islam does NOT prohibit). When boys and girls are taught in secular schools, they are not brainwashed into believing in jihad. They are not taught by extremist Muslims. They are taught by moderate Muslims who believe in the true words of the Koran. If two generations of children are educated PROPERLY, they can not be brainwashed! When extremist schools (ie: army training camps), are the only schools available, and they only accept boys, then terrorists will continue to be trained.

This, however, is not the only reason to educate girls in rural Pakistan and Afghanistan. With only the equivalent of a fifth-grade education, girls in rural villages are able to lead healthier lives. They learn how to properly take care of food, provide water, birth babies, etc., to prolong and improve the lives of the people of their village. In villages that do not have schools, only 1 in three babies born live until their first birthday. In villages where schools have been established, the infant mortality rate has been drastically reduced. People are healthier.

I'm not a political activist. Very little about politics interests me at all. As an educator, however, this story, Greg Mortenson's story, must be told AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN. And people must listen. We will forever live in the shadow of 9/11 if we don't tear the roots of terrorism away. Our country will never be safe, our WORLD, will never be safe unless we recognize the importance of the work Greg Mortenson is doing.

check it out:

***I, of course, support our troops and the sacrifice they make for our country. I am immensely proud to be American. I am distressed that our goverment, the most powerful in the world, does not fulfill its' promises and is not taking interest in the most common-sense approach to fighting terror.


Kyla said...

Wow. That is really awesome. And it does make total sense. Can you imagine what even a FRACTION of the billions that have been spent were put towards this end? I think it would make a huge difference.

Arizaphale said...

you have piqued my interest, especially as an educator....I'll try and get a copy....