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Dreamer Christine Rathje 12/8/08 When Greg Mortenson emarked on his adventure to climb Pakinstan’s K2, he had one mission in mind. This mission has now morphed into something even bigger than climbing the largest mountain in the world. He has impacted the lives of thousands of children and it all began with just Three Cups of Tea. Greg Mortenson was born in the United States, but he grew up in the shadows of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, a country on the east coast of Africa. His parents were active community members. His father was instrumental in starting a teaching hospital, and his mother was the founder of a very good boarding school (http://www.threecupsoftea.com/greg-mortenson-bio-and- professional-photo/). From these early beginnings, Mortenson realized the importance of helping others and contributing to the planet. Mortenson served in the military and then went on to the University of South Dakota to study nursing. In 1992, his sister died of a massive seizure, which greatly impacted his life (http://www.threecupsoftea.com/greg-mortenson-bio-and- Dreamer Christine Rathje 12/8/08 professional-photo/). A year later, as he was climbing K2 in her honor, something amazing happened. He failed to reach the summit and was severely weakened by the attempt. He stumbled into a village, where the people nursed him back to health. Over the infamous “three cups of tea”, he asked the villagers how he could repay them. The villagers were skeptical because all of the other Americans who had wound up in their village were never heard from again. After further pressing, Mortenson learned the village needed a school (Griffis). Upon returning to his home in Montana, Mortenson began a letter writing campaign to solicit donations for the new 5 classroom school he planned to build in Pakistan. He wrote 580 total letters to famous people and organizations but only received one check for $100 (http://www.threecupsoftea.com/2008/05/01/economist-may08/). This initial setback did not stop him from achieving his goal. He sold all of his mountain climbing equipment and even his car in order to raise money to build his schools. His organization, Dreamer Christine Rathje 12/8/08 Pennies for Peace, was soon discovered by the entire world and he was soon collecting enough donations to begin his schools (http://www.threecupsoftea.com/2008/07/13/ny-times-school-not- missiles/). In order to be selected for a school, a community must donate the property and help construct the building. This ensures that there is an interest in having the school within the community, and people are involved enough to send their children. Mortenson’s schools are changing Pakistan because the focus is on educating the girls. Over 18,000 girls have attended his schools, and these girls would never have been educated had his schools never been built. As they are becoming women and mothers, they are encouraging their young sons to be educated and stay out of militant groups like the Taliban, who prey on illiterate, poor young men and draw them in as soldiers. According to Congresswoman Mary Bono (Rep.-Cal.), his idea of educating girls promotes economic development too. “You can drop bombs, hand out condoms, build roads, or put in electricity, but until the girls are educated a society won’t change”( http://www.threecupsoftea.com/wp- includes/documents/GMBio.pdf). His work has not been without difficulty. In 1996, he survived an eight day armed kidnapping in the Northwest Frontier Province NWFP tribal areas of Pakistan, escaped a 2003 firefight with feuding Afghan warlords by hiding for eight hours under putrid animal hides in a truck going to a leather-tanning factory. He has overcome two fatwehs from enraged Islamic mullahs, endured Dreamer Christine Rathje 12/8/08 CIA investigations, and also received hate mail and death threats from fellow Americans after 9/11, for helping Muslim children with education. Dreamer Christine Rathje 12/8/08 “About Greg Mortenson” http://www.threecupsoftea.com/greg- mortenson-bio-and-professional-photo, 12/8/08. 04/15/08, Randall Griffis, interview by Christine Rathje. “True Stories,” Http://www.threecupsoftea.com/2008/05/01/economist-may08/, 12/07/08. Kristoff, Nicholas. “It takes a School, Not Missiles.” http://www.threecupsoftea.com/2008/07/13/ny-times-school-not- missiles/. 12/07/08.
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