This is a must-read for everyone - the story of this amazing man who made a difference to thousands of children in one of the poorest parts of the world.
Greg Mortensen, ex-mountaineer turned humanitarian, is an eccentric character, to say the least. The book is written (by Mortensen together with David Relin) in a captivating narrative which captures the reader & refuses to let him/her go till the last page is read.
The roadblocks faced by this man as he tried to build schools for the voiceless in Pakistan & Afghanistan would have stopped the average person. But (I think) because of his eccentricity, and a huge amount of persistence, with perhaps a bit of recklessness (or stupidity, depending on whom you are talking to), he literally built his first school stone by stone.
His achievements are inspirational. This should be mandatory reading for The Powers That Be who sit on the governments which send troops to the Middle East or Afghanistan.
This paragraph sums up quite neatly why the war on terror is not being won by the politicians:
"We only stayed a minute, while I was introduced," Mortensen says. "And I wish I could tell you I said something amazing to Donald Rumsfeld, the kind of thing that made him question the whole conduct of the war on terror, but mostly what I did was stare at his shoes.
"I don't know much about that kind of thing, but even I could tell they were really nice shoes. They looked expensive and they were perfectly shined. I remember also that Rumsfeld had on a fancy-looking gray suit, and he smelled like cologne. And I remember thinking, even though I knew that the Pentagon had been hit by a hijacked plane, that we were very far away from the fighting, from the heat and dust I'd come from in Kabul."
His work has inspired me.
This book has made me see that in the greater scheme of things, we need to appreciate what we have instead of focusing on what we don't, and yes, it is cliched, but there are always others MUCH less fortunate than us. Oh, I have known it all along, but reading about the people in Pakistan & Afghanistan & how the live has made me appreciate this so much more.
It has also shown me that sometimes, we need to take small steps at the beginning to reach a seemingly unreachable destination.
I think I will take my first step now.