How Three Cups of Tea Changed my Life

Being a student advisor is one of the roles at school that I enjoy nearly as much as teaching teachers and students about how to integrate technology into their lives. Every summer, I tryto read one of the selections that my advisees are asked to read for their summer reading project so that we can have a shared experience. This past summer, I choose to read the selection for the junior English class, since the majority of my advisees were rising juniors and it was recommended by our junior English teacher. This year’s selection was Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson. In the fall in my advisory, we talked about the way that this book changed our view and made us appreciate the wealth that we experience. I walked away from this book wanting to do something, but not sure what.

This true tale is about Greg Mortenson’s finding success in an unintended goal after experiencing a failure in what he thought was his life’s passion. After failing to reach his climbing goal of summiting K2, he wandered down off of the mountain dazed. He made his way to the high mountain Pakistani village of Korphe, where he was nursed back to health by the local villagers. In return, he said that he would help them build the village’s first school. This book tells the story of his building not only this school, but over 50 others in small Pakistani and Afghan villages. He has dedicated his life to improving the education of others, especially young women, in remote parts of the world, who may not have the same access that we take for granted.

Our school’s motto is “Live and Serve” and we have been implementing the concept of Service Learning into our curriculum. After reading Three Cups of Tea, our juniors and their teacher , Kathy McHugh, have determined to create a project in which our students will be participating in two projects. The first is to create children’s books for children in the local area to encourage literacy and the second is to raise funds for the Kilimanjaro English Nursery School, in the name of one of our wonderful kindergarten teachers who passed away this summer. Since I am the yearbook adviser in addition to being the Director of Academic Technology, I have been asked to help guide and find solutions for the production of the books which will be produced.

In order to raise funds for the project, the juniors will be holding a read-a-thon on December 17th . Since I am a newbie blogger, trying to show the power of this medium, instead of asking the same people in my geographic area to sponsor me, I have decided to ask you to help me meet my goal. I have created a chipin widget which I have posted above for you to support me. With the various winter holidays coming, I would appreciate it if readers of this blog (which I am sure are less that a handful) could sponsor me for either $1 or $2 . [Note: Since I didn’t read the small print, if you use the ChipIn Widget, Sheryl Nussbaum-Beech has found out that if you do a PayPal transfer, the minimum is $2 and for credit cards, the minimum is $1. Still less than a cup of coffee. Sorry about that.] These funds will help support the school. I am hoping that your generosity will help teachers and students who are less fortunate that we are during these times of reflection. I know that I barely know you, but I hope that you will consider helping me.

In Tanzania, children begin public schooling at the age of eight. The Kilimanjaro English Nursery School was formed by a local Tanzanian, Edward Lazaro, known by his community as ‘Teacher,’ to serve children from ages three to eight. Teacher created the school for several purposes. It is meant to give children a foundation of basic education before secondary school begins. Additionally, for older children whose families can not afford the $200 per year associated with the public schooling system, the Nursery provides students with basic language, math, and vocational skills. And, finally, the school offers a safe place for children, some of whom are orphans, to play and learn away from bad influences. At the moment, 240 children are registered at the school, which consists entirely of a small, one-room school house. The staff of four teachers receives no salary but room and board. The Nursery is a wonderful cause in desperate need of support. The funds will be important in helping to buy land, materials, and supplies for expanding the Nursery and to support the overall operation of the school. One of our beloved retired kindergarten teachers and her husband will be visiting Kilimanjaro English Nursery School within the year to help with curriculum development and planning.

I hope that you all enjoy your holidays.


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6 thoughts on “How Three Cups of Tea Changed my Life

  1. Jambo Rafiki wa Kilimanjaro,
    Nimefurahi ku sikia blog wetu. Nidiyo kumsaida watoto kukwenda school ni mzuri sana. Labda nitaweza kusaidia school yetu. Sasa nina kaa Afghanistan, lakini nitarudi America karibu na January 10th. Also, nitarudi Moshi, Tanzania in August 2007 with bibi na mtoto yango kukwenda reunion of International School Moshi, which my mother Jerene Mortenson founded in 1969.

    Nitafurahi ku onana Kilimanjaro English Nursery School katika my visit to Tanzania.

    Asante sana kwa msaidia yako.
    Please excuse the poor Swahili, I have not been able to speak it in over 35 years.
    Greg Mortenson

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