Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Stones Into Schools

It's been a while since I've reviewed a book. (It's been a while since I've read a book worth reviewing, also) What a way to start back--I read this one while I was on vacation, and it was awesome.

Stones Into Schools is Greg Mortenson's latest report on the Central Asia Institute's ongoing work in Pakistan and Afghanistan. (The first being the similarly-incredible Three Cups of Tea)He works to build schools in the farthest places, those that are passed by and forgotten by their over-burdened governments, and in doing so builds relationships between these communities and America, transforming communities through the power of education.

I won't re-tell the amazing story of Greg's life that is told so well in the pages of these books. It is worth reading alone simply for the characters that Greg works with on the other side of the planet. The thing that amazes me is Greg's humility. He enters into these situations and asks what the people there need and want. He listens before he speaks, and when he does act, he allows himself to be led by those in charge. He doesn't barge in and seek to supply the answers--instead he allows the leaders' passion for children's education to drive the projects, making these schools belong to the villages, not to some American NGO. He is an incredible person, doing incredible things by his willingness to serve and his attitude of humility.

The stories are incredible--the scenery and situations are heartbreaking. I can't recommend this book highly enough--what is happening in these far-flung places is truly changing the world, one village at a time. The leaders of these villages are desperate to educate their children, and that need is being met, slowly but surely, by Greg Mortenson and so many others who have pledged to serve those who are not being served by anyone else.

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