That was one of the many lessons I learned from the book "Three Cups of Tea". I've been reading it the past few weeks and just recently finished it. There were so many inspiring things in it that I wanted to share just a few! More than anything I am so glad to have a better understanding of the people in Pakistan. What good people. Part of me wishes I could go and meet the men and women mentioned in the book. The book is about the desire of one man, Greg Mortenson, who wanted to bring education to children in Pakistan and did everything in his power to make it happen. It was facinating and inspiring to see how one person could make such a huge difference.
If you haven't read it yet, you need to! It's very inspiring. Here are a few of my favorite lessons learned.
The title comes from an experience that Greg had building a school in a small Pakistan village. He was frantically trying to get the school finished on his agenda and was frustrated that it wasn't going as he wanted it to. The village leader, Haji Ali, decided it was time to teach him valuable lesson. He told him, "Doctor Greg, you must make time to share three cups of tea. We may be uneducated but we are not stupid. We have lived and survived here for a long time." Greg goes on to say, "That day, Haji Ali taught me the most important lesson I've ever learned in my life. We Americans think you have to accomplish everything quickly...Haji Ali taught me to share three cups of tea, to slow down and make building relationships as important as building projects. He taught me I had more to learn from the people I work with than I could ever hope to teach them."
I love this! What a great reminder that we need to slow down and work on developing relationships. Greg says the following about Haji Ali, "Here was this illiterate man, who'd hardly ever left his little village in the Karakoram. Yet he was the wisest man I've ever met."
I also loved reading about the compassion and love that was shown to Greg after 9/11. A Muslim leader in Pakistan gave a talk just days after in which he said, "I request America to look into our hearts and see that the great majority of us are not terrorists, but good and simple people...Protect and embrace this American in our midst. Let no harm come to him." The women in the village pressed eggs, a token of grief, into his hands and told him to take them to the "faraway sisters they longed to comfort themselves, the widows of New York village." There was so much hatred after 9/11 in the American hearts and so much love in the Pakistans heart. We have so much we can learn from them!
Ok, just one more thing. At a lecture given by Mortensen he told us to find a way to make a difference. He suggested simple things like writing a letter or saving just a few dollars to give to someone in need. Sometimes we might feel like we have to do great things like go to Pakistan ourselves and build a school. In reality there are so many little things we can do. The kids and I wrote letters to some of the kids Heather knows from Africa. It didn't take us long and wasn't fancy but I was glad to connect with other people in this world and hopefully in some small way make a difference in their lives. Learning about them, and about the people in Pakistan, has certainly made a difference in mine.