Book Club Kits
Three Cups of Tea : one man's mission to fight terrorism and build nations-- one school at a time
by Mortenson, Greg and David Oliver Relin
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1. What is the significance of tea in this book and in the title? (These discussion questions provided with the kind permission of www.readinggroupguides.com.)
2. Agree or disagree with Mortenson's statement: "When we increase literacy, we substantially reduce tensions."
3. Comment on Mortenson's decision that CAI schools should emphasize increasing girls' enrollment. "Once you educate the boys, they tend to leave the villages and go search for work in the cities. But girls stay home, become leaders in the community, and pass on what they've learned. If you really want to change a culture, to empower women, improve basic hygiene and health care, and fight high rates of infant mortality, the answer is to educate girls."
4. How has this book added to your understanding of other cultures and a geographic region few Americans have an opportunity to experience first hand?
5. How does Relin's telling the story give it a different perspective than if Mortenson had written the narrative himself?
6. Mortenson prays with Muslims. Do you feel this is sincere or does it seem to be a means toward an end?
7. There is a passage about Mortenson's change of direction at the start of the book: One evening, he went to bed by a yak dung fire a mountaineer who'd lost his way, and one morning, by the time he'd shared a pot of butter tea with his hosts and laced up his boots, he'd become a humanitarian who'd found a meaningful path to follow for the rest of his life." What made Mortenson particularly ripe for such a transformation? Has anything similar happened in your own life?
8. The book has a powerful but simple political message: as individuals we have the power to change the world, one cup of tea at a time. Yet the book powerfully dramatizes the obstacles in the way of this philosophy: bloody wars waged by huge armies, prejudice, religious extremism, cultural barriers. What do you think of the "one cup of tea at a time" philosophy? Do you think Mortenson's vision can work for lasting and meaningful change?
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