Friday, February 19, 2010
Here in the USA most of what I have learned about Pakistan and Afganistan has been from CNN and political speeches. The Taliban and AlQuaida are there. That's been enough for me to paint the entire area with a broad brush of dislike and disgust. I almost said 'fear' but I realize I actually do not fear them; their presence is only real to me because of 9-11, and otherwise they are a faint rhetoric of military and political babble...something over which I have no control.
However, I have just finished reading "Stones Into Schools" by Greg Mortenson, subtitled Promoting Peace With Schools, Not Bombs. Before I retired I was a public school teacher for 30 years. I taught mathematics to thousands of students over the years, many of whom did not share my interest in the subject. I realized, in order to reach them, I had to approach our interactions truly as a relationship. The mathematics was an appetizer to the main course of relationship.
"Stones Into Schools" is a sequel to "Three Cups Of Tea". If you have interest in this subject I would suggest you read Three Cups Of Tea first, and then decide about the second book. Three Cups Of Tea is wildly successful by any measure: #1 NYTimes Bestseller, critics, reviews, book clubs, neighbors, and friends. It reminds us that even the most insurmountable problems are most effectively approached through relationship building...and then miracles can occur. They occur because people are inspired! In this case, one INSPIRED man, an American nurse and son of US missionaries to Africa, is responsible for well over 100 schools in the most remote parts of Pakistan and Afganistan where girls were not permitted to go to school, and the boys who did go were often 'taught' in an outdoor tent at best.
Education is a powerful thing. The premise of both books is the thought, no the conviction, that being able to read and learn will go further to promote logical, independent thought and, eventually peace, than bombs that drop resulting in killing of innocent people, maiming many more, and setting a third world country back even more.
The people of Pakistan and Afganistan are trying awfully hard, trying their best, to help their countries evolve, to help their children learn and be safe, building upon hopes and dreams just as we do. I respect them immensely for their efforts in the face of chaos and uncertainty and danger.
You might enjoy Three Cups Of Tea and its sequel....check the reviews online.
I'm off to exercise the body, zumba dancing to some uplifting fun music, and celebrating the day and the freedom and opportunities I have as a woman to learn and do with no bounds. I am so thankful for that, to God and to our fore fathers.
Enjoy the day!