Three Cups of Tea

I recently finished the book Three Cups of Tea written by Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin. The timing is perfect because it ties into one of the charities that Silent River Kung Fu and the Benevolent Foundation supports each year. The charity I am talking about is Malawi Girls on the Move. 

The Benevolent Foundation and the charities we support are a big focus at this time of year as we prepare for Pandemonium. When talking about each of the charities, I have found that some people are resistant to supporting charities that are outside of their own country or even their community. An even smaller percentage of people questioned why support a charity that builds schools for just girls rather than girls and boys. These are good questions and they offer an opportunity for conversation and that conversation can help to create awareness.

Every person, every plant and animal that exists on our planet is connected to each other. As I am writing this I started to think about how the Earth is round, one big enormous circle and how that ties into our practice of Kung Fu. We are taught in Kung Fu to see and feel the circular motions of our techniques and understand/feel the six harmonies. When throwing a punch for instance there is more than just a fist involved. Other areas of the body are affected and move in conjunction with the punch. Even if we don't make contact with the punch there is still a ripple effect happening. 

I understand the desire to focus on what we can see and hear within our own communities, because it is easier and less overwhelming then looking at the world as our community. It is important to understand though that even halfway around the world we are still connected. The ripples may take a bit longer to reach us, but there is no doubt that we will be affected either positively or negatively. Education provides hope, empowerment and opportunities that wouldn't exist otherwise creating a positive ripple around the world for all to benefit from. 

Three cups of Tea is a true story about how one person can make a difference. Greg Mortenson had a vision that started with building a school for girls in a small mountain village in Pakistan. After ten years with the help of numerous people 55 schools were built. By 2009, 81 schools had been built in Afghanistan and Pakistan. 

"When I look into the eyes of the children in Pakistan and Afghanistan, I see the eyes of my own children full of wonder---and hope that we each do our part to leave them a legacy of peace instead of the perpetual cycle of violence, war, terrorism, racism, exploitation, and bigotry that we have yet to conquer " ( Mortenson 335).

Michele Ward