I would love to travel to every country upon this earth. Sadly it will never happen for different reasons. My primary concern when it comes to traveling is safety. With so much conflict in the world I will stay nearer to home for the most part. There is the issue of money for all this sightseeing too.
I recently finished reading Three Cups of Tea. I am narrow minded, and I'm glad to have my mind opened to a beginning understanding of Islam society in Pakistan. All Muslims do not believe in the actions of the Taliban. I was very surprised that even members of the Taliban after 9/11 talked about turning Osama in.
"The true core tenants of Islam are justice, tolerance, and charity." If the book is being true, then after 9/11 one of the northern Shia leaders gave a speech at a school dedication and apologized for the attack on the New York village. I've only ever considered the negative about Muslim society based on the Taliban terrorist attacks.
Three cups of tea; First you share as a stranger, the second time you are a guest, and the third time you become part of the family and this new family will die for you. Mortensen learns from his mentor, Haji Ali, who is leader of the poverty stricken village of Korphe and was illiterate himself "Doctor Greg, you must make time to share three cups of tea, We may be uneducated. But we are not stupid. We have lived and survived here for a long time." This is the village that first receives Mortensons help.
It's beautiful to see how one mans idea for a school turned into this astounding organization building not only schools for girls but vocational training for women, libraries, and scholarships for higher education.
"Who knew that something as simple as a bridge could empower women?" Can you imagine being able to finally leave your home and walk to another village and return home all in the same day. What joy the women of Korphe experienced when Haji Ali told Mortenson that first a bridge had to be built before the school.
I attended a seminar two years ago where Oliver DeMille spoke about tribal society -vs- national society. I thought it was interesting and wondered where he got his information from. My answer is books. And in this book I came across the value of tribal society and not so much modernizing the villages but rather encouraging education so that ignorance can be fought and choices made for working and understanding that wont necessarily make you rich but can lift you up out of the deepest of poverty to perhaps a level of hope and brightness.
Helena Norberg-Hodge is quoted to have said,"It may seem absurd to believe that a "primitive" culture in the Himalaya has anything to teach our industrialized society. But our search for a future that works keeps spiraling back to an ancient connection between ourselves and the earth, an interconnectedness that ancient cultures have never abandoned."
I like this quote by the same women when she quoted the king of Bhutan who said that,"the true measure of a nation's success is not gross national product, but "gross national happiness." Isn't that wonderful? To be more concerned for the happiness of a society.
The Waltons tv series I think shows the tribal society before WWII. The grandparents living with their son and his growing family, contributing and teaching. One other quote by Helena which has me thinking about how hard it is in our national way of living without close knit families to help each other raise families and provided help to each other with the working of the gardens and preparations for seasonal changes is this. "I have seen that community and a close relationship with the land can enrich human life beyond all comparison with material wealth or technological sophistication. I have learned that another way is possible."
I'm learning this too. Another way is possible. You don't have to follow the main stream of national living. You can step out and say no, I'm raising my family within the walls or rather the beginning walls of a tribal community, we are working our little piece of land together, we are serving the needs of our less fortunate brothers and sisters. We are creating surrogate extended family with our neighbors.
I hope that you will read Three Cups of Tea. I hope we will all begin to contribute our time more fully to helping others because I think we ourselves are helped in the process of serving. I think the possibilities are endless. Now go out and be the change you want to see happening.