Last year I had read the book entitled “Three cups of tea: One man’s mission to promote peace…One school at a time” by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. This book has influenced my perceptions of the world that there still exists compassion and humanity. The book traces the life of mountaineer Greg Mortenson and his efforts towards establishing schools for the people of the remote, inaccessible areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Greg Mortenson was a mountaineer who got lost in the mountains of Pakistan on his way back from climbing K2, one of the world’s highest and most dangerous peaks, in the Himalayas.

He wandered into Korphe, a poor Balti village in Pakistan, where the chief and his people took him in and nursed him back to health. Moved by their kindness, Greg promised to return and build a school for the children. This is the remarkable story of how, against all the odds, Greg built not only one but more than sixty schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and dedicated his life to establishing literacy and peace. Pakistan, touted by many as a harbinger of war, was in a state of war when the author chanced upon the province of Balti.

The natives therefore were hesitant and apprehensive of the unknown and fearful of outsiders. The presence of a stranger could have spurned them, but they nursed and sheltered Greg. This proves that compassion and selflessness are still alive. At this juncture the book reintroduced to me this amazing category of people who are still willing to sacrifice their luxury, comfort, health and family for the betterment of the society. The knowledge and ways of different cultures can definitely help in successfully carrying out philanthropic work in other nations.

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People talk about development in the underdeveloped countries sitting in the luxury of their homes, but there exists a man who achieved that in reality by putting his heart and soul to the cause. Such people actually achieve what others only dream of achieving. Opportunities exist, but people should keep their eyes and mind open to be able to grab them and turn even the worst of situation to their advantage. When I get stuck in a tough spot and things get hard, I maintain an optimistic attitude and think that I can work it.

It might take a little more effort than usual, but in the end I can win it. The fact that Greg Mortenson, an ordinary man with limited means, fought and worked selflessly for the betterment of a community to which he had no prior attachments stands testimony to the human spirit and the resolve to do good. Therefore, the book is a re-affirmation of the fact that humanity and courage still exist. It provides instances of, not just surviving the odds but flourishing and provides glimpses when least expected.

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