The Glad Game > 2009年8月13日のアーカイブ

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2009年8月13日のアーカイブ

Three Cups of Tea

6月にTo the Best of Our Knowledgeというpodcastを聞いていてGreg Mortensonという方の活動を知りました。Mortensonは”One school at a time.” というスローガンのもと、パキスタンとアフガニスタンにチャリティーで学校を建て、教育を提供している活動家です。

 もと救急ナースで登山家でもあった彼は、1993年のK2登山で仲間とはぐれ体調を崩してKorpheという麓の村に偶然たどり着きます。村人に丁重にもてなされ健康を回復した彼は、村の子供達が寒空の下、地面に棒で文字を書きながら学習をしている姿を目の当たりにします。Gregはその中の女の子の一人に必ず戻ってきて学校を建てると約束します。

 アメリカに戻って夜勤ERナースをしながら資金集めのために、セレブや議員たちに580通もの手紙をだしましたが返事は戻ってきません。Gregの母が勤めている小学校の子供達が集めた寄付と、高名な物理学者、登山家でもあるDr.Hoerniからの寄付をもって1年後にKorpheに戻ってきます。

 そこからの道のりも厳しいものでした。利権を争い賄賂を要求する実力者たちの妨害に会いながらも、村人達の協力を得て自ら学校建設に乗り出します。

 タイトルの”Three Cups of Tea” は村の長老Haji Aliがアメリカ流のやり方を通そうとして村人と軋轢が生じてしまったGregに対して言った言葉です。

 ”The first time you share tea with a Balti, you are a stranger. The second time you take tea, you are an honored 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.”

 貧困、賄賂のはびこるパキスタンでは女の子に教育を施す機会などなく、女の子への教育を禁止している地域さえありました。”子供達へ教育を” というのは自身も文盲である長老Haji Aliの切なる願いであり、子供達が貧困から抜け出す唯一の手段でもありました。

 Gregの地道な活動は徐々にパキスタン、アメリカで理解を得て、ついにはCAIという基金をたちあげ、これまでに50以上の学校建設、女性のために自立援助、教師たちへの給料支払い、奨学金の設立などを行ってきました。

 Haji Aliの孫娘であるJahanはこの地域で初めて教育を受けた女性となり、今ではhealth workerとして故郷で医療に貢献しています。彼女の夢は医師になることであり、奨学金を得てそのための勉強を続けています。

 Gregがパキスタン、アフガニスタンへもたらしたバランスの取れた教育は、自立の手段というだけでなく、幼い子供達がイスラム原理主義教育を受け、将来過激派となる土壌を未然に防ぐという意味もあります。テロ対策としてのアメリカ軍の空爆は憎しみしか生まず、イスラムと国際社会が抱える問題を解決する手段にはなりません。Gregの活動は、パキスタン、アフガニスタンの子供達が自立し、平和をもたらす存在に育つよう、教育という種をまいているといえると思います。

 podcastでたまたま著者がパキスタンでの活動を語っているのを聞き、即購入を決めた本です。静かな語り口調でしたが、現地での困難な活動や、タリバンに拘束された時の話など、わずか15分話を聞いただけでも胸が熱くなりました!

 アメリカのアマゾンでは売り上げ31位でした。LingQで添削をしてくれたけるしー先生も、兄弟からのクリスマスプレゼントだったとおっしゃってました。(読んでないみたいですけど)

 パキスタンの地名と人名がややこしいのと、前半は苦難続きでなかなか話が進まないので読みにくさを感じましたが、後半はこれまでの活動が実を結んでいき、引き込まれるように読み進めました。

 子供向きにリライトされた本もあるようです。

YL8くらい? 126,121語

 これをもって勝手に夏休みの課題図書及び読書感想文終了とします!お盆前に読書感想文を書き終わるなんて学生時代はあり得なかったわ~。

Three Cups of Tea

I happened to listen to an international radio programme that featured Greg Mortenson the other day. He was an American who devoted his life to building schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The interview was short, but I was impressed by his story. As soon as I finished listening to his story, I ordered his book on Amazon.

Three Cups of Tea is a nonfiction book about an American guy named Greg Mortenson and his attempt to build schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The story begins with Greg’s unsuccessful attempt to climb K2 in 1993. After straying from a climbing party at K2, he became exhausted and seriously ill with a cold. He happened to reach a small suburban village called Korphe. He was warmly received (and treated) and he recuperated seven weeks later. He saw village children studying outside in the cold weather, using sticks to scribble words on the ground. There was no school in rural Pakistan in those days. The situation was even worse for girls, as education for girls was prohibited in that area. Mortenson promised to a girl that he would build a school in the village someday.

After he came back to America, he worked as a night-shift nurse in the ER, and started to raise money for the school. He sent 580 letters to celebrities and senators but got no reply. Thanks to his mother’s help in starting a charity program at local primary schools, and a donation from Dr. Hoerni, a prominent physics professor and former climber, he went back to Pakistan the next year.

He faced many problems and obstacles. Local authorities required bribes, and he encountered deception. However, with the villagers’ help, he could build the first school in Korphe at last. The title, “Three Cups of Tea” is derives from the words of Haji Ali, the elder of Korphe, which he said while Mortenson was having difficulty in keeping good relations with the villagers: “The first time you share tea with a Balti, you are a stranger. The second time you take tea, you are an honored 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.” This was the most important lesson Mortenson had ever learned in his life. He learned to respect and observe the local customs rather than stick to his own American ways. He could build better relationships with others after following this advice.

Education for children is the most important but also most impossible task for war-torn impoverished areas like Korphe. Education is the only way to get out of poverty. Haji Ali offered a life time’s fortune when the local authority required a bribe from him. Although he was illiterate himself, he understood the importance of education.

His project grew into what is now the Central Asia Institute, which has constructed more than 50 schools, pays salaries to teachers, and raises scholarships for students. Mortenson has said, “Education for girls is especially important because they stay home, become leaders in the community, and pass on what they’ve learned. If you really want to change a culture, the answer is to educate girls.” Education is also important to give a balanced perspective in religious communities where Islamic fundamentalists thrive. Following the U.S. Army’s air-raids, there remain ruins and hatred. Mortenson’s approach to tackle Islamic conflicts by promoting education seems the only way to lift poverty and eventually bring about peace in what is currently the most volatile area in the world.

Now, Jahan, the granddaughter of Haji Ali, and the first educated woman in Korphe has graduated from the school in Korphe and continued her study at a private school in town. She comes back to the village as a health worker and helps the villagers in many ways. She hopes to continue her study to be a doctor in the near future. The seed Mortenson and Haji Ali planted together has born splendid fruit.

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