Mortenson conveyed his message at Loyola and also in his novel so eloquently that I feel even describing the lesson in my own words does not in any way add up to the true "essence" of his message. Nevertheless, it is important to pass his message on so that we can truly create change:
Providing education to the poor individuals of Pakistan and Afghanistan will eventually prevent these individuals from ending up in the extremist teachings and suicide bombings that they feel forced to take part in. With the knowledge that education brings, people will be more aware of what is right and what is wrong and thus, be more able to accurately judge a situation based off of their increasing intelligence. This as a result, prevents terrorism.
One of the greatest accomplishments lies in the creation of the Central Asia Institute, which was co-founded by Dr. Jean Hoerni, a Swiss physicist who funded its creation, and Greg Mortenson, the current executive director of CAI.The mission of Central Asia Institute is proudly stated on the headline of their website:
"To promote and support community-based education, especially for girls, in remote regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan."
In "Three Cups of Tea," Greg Mortenson states "Educate a boy and you educate an individual. Educate a girl, and you educate a community."
CAI refers to this as The Girl Effect.
“Here, (in Pakistan and Afghanistan) we drink three cups of tea to do business; the first you are a stranger, the second you become a friend, and the third, you join our family, and for our family we are prepared to do anything — even die.”
The idea is to belong. The three cups of tea signify something more than just setting aside some time to get to know someone, it is about building strong bonds. It is about investing time into people and situations in which you will undoubtedly learn and grow from. By the time people are adults, many regard themselves as "too busy." Their immediate reply to everything and everyone is "no," and they must schedule "appointments" to meet with their aging parents for dinner. What is left of these people?
Why don't we ever take a step back instead of tripping others just to get ahead?
I told Mr. Mortenson that I may not have much now, but that one day inshallah when I will become "somebody," the Central Asia Institute will be my charity of choice.
In that moment, Mr. Mortenson looked right up at me with half a smile, stared for couple moments, and silently began turning the pages in my book to the pictures section. He then shared with me the story of one of the girls he knew who also had the same passions as I and how her dreams had finally come true.