Karachi Photo Blog

Wednesday, September 29, 2010




Strung through a series of image slides, Greg Mortenson, best selling author of 'Three Cups of Tea', narrated his life story and explained how he got involved with philanthropic work in Pakistan and Afghanistan. It was a speech he has been given before, multiple times--his childhood in East Africa; his father believing in handing over the administration of a hospital to the local people--and finally the wish coming through; his sister's untimely death; Mortenson taking his sister's necklace to Pakistan to climb K-2 and put the necklace on the summit; Mortenson not able to summit the peak--here he stops and asks if anyone in the audience remembers the title of the first chapter of 'Three Cups of Tea', one or two people raise their hands, Mortenson asks them what is that title, they yell 'Failure', Mortenson acknowledges the answer to be correct, and then tells the audience how his publisher thought a book should never start with a chapter titled 'Failure', everybody laughs and loves the guy even more; Mortenson returning back from K-2, dejected; Mortenson ending up in a village where Haji Ali is the Chief of village [the use of word 'Chief' makes you wonder if Mortenson is mixing Pakistan with Africa]; Haji Ali looks at Mortenson, who has not taken a shower in 72 days--you wonder why?--and says in Balti, 'What the heck!'; Mortenson recuperates in Haji Ali's village and one day sees boys using sticks as pens to write on the ground, Mortenson promises to them he would build a school for them; Haji Ali's wife dies; Haji Ali points to the grave of his deceased wife and tells Mortenson he (Haji Ali) too would be in the ground soon; much later Mortenson returns back to the village to find out Haji Ali is indeed dead; Mortenson visits Haji Ali's grave and remembers what Haji Ali told him--Haji Ali had asked Mortenson --in the very profound and cryptic manner old wise men are supposed to speak--to 'listen to the wind'; Mortenson listens to the wind and hears children reading their lessons; etc. etc.

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