Can one person make a difference?

2 min readJul 9, 2020


(Not a book review.)

Three Cups of Tea is inspiring non-fiction about Greg Mortenson, an American who built schools in remote villages of Pakistan’s Mountain valleys.

Mortenson was a mountaineer. Once he lost his way and ended up in Korphe a small village, after an unsuccessful attempt to climb K2 in 1993. He spent some time in that village and realised that there are no schools for the village kids. He promised the village chief Haji Ali he would build a school in Korphe so the children could study. The book narrates the challenges he faced to start that one school, but continued to build many schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

“The first time you share tea with a Balti, you are a stranger. The second time you take tea, you are an honoured guest. The third time you share a cup of tea, you become family, and for our family, we are prepared to do anything, even die.” Haji Ali — The village chief

Most of us believe things based on what the media feed us.

“…They only wanted sound bites about the Taliban leaders so they could turn them into villains in the run-up to war”

Mortenson realised that terror doesn’t happen because some group of people somewhere like Pakistan or Afghanistan simply decide to hate the world. It happens because children aren’t being offered a bright enough future that they have a reason to choose life over death.

“I request America to look into our hearts.” Abbas continued, his voice straining with emotion, “and see that the great majority of us are not terrorists, but good and simple people. Our land is stricken with poverty because we are without education. But today, another candle of knowledge has been lit. In the name of Allah the almighty, may it light our way out of the darkness we find ourselves in.”

Five hundred and eighty letters, twelve rams, and ten years of work…

“What motivates me to do this? The answer is simple: when I look into the eyes of the children in Pakistan and Afghanistan, I see my own children’s eyes full of wonder — and I hope that we will each do our part to leave them all a legacy of peace instead of the perpetual cycle of violence, war, terrorism, racism, and bigotry that we adults have yet to conquer.”

We know the world is a very large place and so far, We’ve only seen a little of it. What difference can we make? Think, Hope, Believe and Do something about it. Because our actions can truly change the world.

Listen to the wind.