Summary of Three Cups of Tea

It is indeed very painful to experience when realities shatter imaginations. We always think about good with everything in the world when it is good with us; we can’t feel suffering unless we encounter them. It feels very strange to think that in today’s society, where everybody is striving and making the most of his potentials for the sake of almighty dollars, a man is doing the same but for a different purpose. Love is a tool that can enable us to do the tasks that we just can’t imagine to do without employing the use of force. This fact, though we all know, but has been very beautifully revealed by Greg Mortenson in his award winning book “Three Cups of Tea – One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace…One School at a Time.”

Greg is a mountaineer by profession and he already sets out to stand on the highest peak of the world but he changes his mind to conquer even higher mountain of the all that is- lack of education, darkness of ignorance, broken promises and countenancing the unknown. The story takes an interesting turn in 1993 that proved to be a year of revolution in the life of the passionate mountaineer when the failure to conquer the world’s highest peak in the Karakoram Range in Pakistan turned his spirits into a brand new direction. He narrates that his treatment in the Korphe, a far off and impoverished village of Pakistan, led him to a destination that his soul has always intended to reach. He was quite embarrassed to find that in ‘can there be such a place where children scratch their lessons in the soil?’ Greg promised to build a school for the children on his return from California. Once at home in California, Greg found that ha had perhaps made a promise for which he might not be able to raise funds. “I will stand to my words”, he thought; but how? The only possible solution that provoked his mind was to hunt out the donors out of the 580 top influential people of the country. One asked Greg, how much will it cost to build a school? $12,000 But he had to have a cup of tea. Three cups were filled with the tea; one for a stranger, the second for a friend and the third for a family member. His magnificent words “This sitting of three cups of tree could be a launching pad for my project. I couldn’t believe. Here I learnt what I need to know about what is necessary for building a school in Pakistan.” fill reader with a strange sort of sensation. 


The most encouraging chapters of the book tell about Greg’s arrival to Pakistan in an effort to cross only a single mountain but he did not know that he was going to follow an entirely different track where he would have to cross several mountains like the one that had always been challenging to him. Greg faced many challenges like exploring a territory where he must learn a language that he never heard before, avoiding rub the wrong way, drive blindly under the gunfire on the meander roads with deadly and sheer steeps on sterile cliffs and accepting beliefs and norms entirely different from his own but every bit as meaningful and valid. He highlighted the ignorance on the part of the international society for neglecting the needs of the people in a territory where poor don’t have the basic right of the education, a place where the government is unable to provide schooling to the public even after six decades of the creation of the country and where girls born with a faith that often lacks the pleasure of attending the classrooms. Greg also mentioned how the people of that territory were misguided by Taliban, who recruit young boys through free Madrassas on the name of the free schooling and by the United Nations and the United States, who did not follow their words of rehabilitating the people after the hunt for Bin Laden. 

Probably the words don’t seem to be able to explain the severity of the hardships that Greg faced for his sacred mission. His efforts bore fruit because ‘every cloud has a silver lining’. Now there are about fifty five school are operating in the areas where the American could never even imagine. In this time of distress, when most of the people consider American as responsible for their ruin, Greg Mortenson proved that Americans are not like what they have sketched in their minds; they in fact haven’t seen the other side of the scene. 

David Oliver Relin is the co-writer of “Three Cups of Tea” with Greg. Greg’s mesmerizing experience is a must read for each and every American as it provokes every noble mind who thinks about a happy, peaceful and educated world. Greg’s struggle up and down the mountains resembles somewhat to the motivating adventures of Indiana Johns where every moment invokes the mind with a new excitement, ecstasy and thrill but here, the treasure is entirely different; far beyond the monetary or eminence concerns but based on self growth for hundreds of thousands and peace for everybody. Though there are many people who have employed themselves for the noble cause of fighting for the children but they prefer to do so behind the scene as it needs spirit, courage and guts to appear on the scene and face the actual difficulties. Providing finance or resources is far easier than facing the actual challenges the rise in the field. Surely, everyone who has met Greg has a distinction of being blessed by touching this soul. Reading his book is something more than that.

“Three Cups of Tea” is an excellent depiction of the practical experiences of the suffering faced by a brave person for the noble cause of educating the new generation. The book has been written not to present the adventurer as a hero but to invoke the others to join hands for this noble cause. After all, our generations will remember through what we will inherit to them.

Related essays