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Three Cups of Tea Keeping Me Up at Night

by Laural Porter

Posted on November 14, 2008 at 11:43 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 4 at 2:32 PM

It's not the caffeine keeping me up... it's the compelling book.

"Three Cups of Tea" is written by Portland author, David Oliver Relin.

I got hooked on the book because of an event I helped host, St. Mary's Academy's "Food For Thought".

Relin was the keynote speaker and I had the privilege of introducing him.

I had been so busy with preparing for the election earlier in the month, I hadn't taken the time to read Relin's book yet.

By a wonderful coincidence, Joe Donlon mentioned to me he was reading a great book.

It was Relin's book. Joe let me borrow it, so I could at least read a few chapters before I introduced the author.

Now, after I get home from the late news, I am up into the wee hours with "Three Cups of Tea".

Relin chronicles the story of mountain climber, Greg Mortenson, and how his failed attempt to climb Pakistan's K-2 mountain led him on a even more difficult quest.

Disoriented after descending the mountain, he stumbles into the primitive village of Korphe in the wildest parts of Pakistan.

The villagers take care of him, nursing him back to health, and Mortenson makes them a promise that changes his life; he promises to build them a school.

That pledge becomes a lifelong quest to promote peace by building one school at a time.

The book explores the root causes of terrorism and how education can combat them.

David Oliver Relin told the 800 people at the St. Mary's event that it costs 25 thousand dollars to build one school in Pakistan; the same amount it costs to build one smart bomb.

He asked the audience rhetorically, which expense promotes peace best?

Relin has been a journalist for two decades, but as he did his research for "Three Cups of Tea, he said he lost the objectivity of a journalist.

After spending time with Mortenson and the people of Pakistan, Relin realized he cared too much.

He wanted Mortenson to succeed.

St. Mary's Academy's annual event is aptly named, "Food For Thought", as Relin's book is giving me food for thought each night before bed.

If you've read "Three Cups of Tea", I'd love to hear your thoughts.

If not, I know Joe Donlon would agree, it's a thought provoking read.

I think "Three Cups of Tea" will also give you food for thought, and may also keep you up at night.