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Three Cups of Tea

Three Cups of Tea (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I read Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson, I was deeply moved. The book tells the story of how Mortenson started schools (especially for girls) in impoverished villages in the most dangerous parts of the world- like rural Pakistan and Afghanistan.  Mortenson, a nurse by profession, related how he spent many hours raising funds and awareness for these schools.  He eventually created enough momentum to build 50 some schools and began his own charity, the Central Asia Institute.

It was an inspiring story. It made me want to quit my useless job and go be a shepherd or something.  Wait, wrong book. That was The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. But I digress.  The point is that Three Cups of Tea showed me that life is still hard for parts of the world, and there were valiant individuals struggling to provide others with the basics, like education.

And then I saw a headline in USA Today that Greg Mortenson, author of Three Cups of Tea, agreed to pay $1,000,000 in restitution to the charity he founded, as part of a settlement agreement with the State of Montana.  The State’s investigations alleged that Mortenson used charitable funds for personal use.  Read the full story here.

Mount Everest north face from Ronguk monastery...

Mount Everest north face from Ronguk monastery in Tibet. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Apparently, Jon Krakauer, author of Into Thin Air (In this non-fiction account of climbing Mount Everest, you’ll feel like you climbed right alongside Krakauer, sans your own Sherpa. For me, I couldn’t possibly bother with the real thing when the risk of losing life and limb looms so near.  Krakauer’s narrative is scary enough for me to stay far, far away) wrote an expose of Mortenson and the Central Asia Institute.  The investigation reveals that substantial parts of Mortenson’s book was fabricated.

Krakauer entitled it Three Cups of Deceit. 

Damn.

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