Friday, September 16, 2011

Stones into Schools

Stones into Schools is the sequel to Greg Mortenson's Three Cups of Tea.  The book is written in a way that you could randomly pick it up and read without having first read Three Cups of Tea.  I think you would lack the appreciation for just how hard Mortenson worked or what a long way he has come on this journey to promote peace by educating people though. 
The timing of this book was completely random but I'm glad that I am reading it now, when the world is remembering the 10th anniversary of September 11th.  The truth is that we are all changed because of that day.  Even if we'd like to think we aren't.  I find myself jumping between thoughts about this book and Charlie Wilson's War and how we got to this place.  It's forgotten sometimes and worth remembering that there are people in Afghanistan that don't support the Taliban and are eager for schools and the possibility of a better life.

Three Cups of Tea detailed the difficulties of making the promise of building a school a reality.  There was a lot of focus on the physical challenges of actually getting building materials to off the map places and getting the school built.  I felt that Stones into Schools focused more on the political challenges of building schools in Afghanistan without the help or support from the country's ruling body.  The chapters detailing the 2005 Kashmir earthquake and the Central Asia Institute's move to make earthquake-proof schools were probably my favorite from the book.

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