THREE CUPS OF TEA
ONE MAN'S MISSION TO FIGHT TERRORISM AND BUILD NATIONS... ONE SCHOOL AT A TIME
GREG MORTENSON and DAVID OLIVER RELIN
INTRODUCTION IN MR. MORTENSON'S ORBIT 1
CHAPTER 1 FAILURE 7
CHAPTER 2 THE WRONG SIDE OF THE RIVER 17
CHAPTER 3 "PROGRESS AND PERFECTION" 27
CHAPTER 4 SELF-STORAGE 34
CHAPTER 5 580 LETTERS, ONE CHECK 47
CHAPTER 6 RAWALPINDI'S ROOFTOPS AT DUSK 57
CHAPTER 7 HARD WAY HOME 70
CHAPTER 8 BEATEN BY THE BRALDU 83
CHAPTER 9 THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN 98
CHAPTER 10 BUILDING BRIDGES 108
CHAPTER 11 SIX DAYS 125
CHAPTER 12 HAJI ALI'S LESSON 136
CHAPTER 13 "A SMILE SHOULD BE MORE THAN A MEMORY" 154
CHAPTER 14 EQUILIBRIUM 174
CHAPTER 15 MORTENSON IN MOTION 184
CHAPTER 16 RED VELVET BOX 198
CHAPTER 17 CHERRY TREES IN THE SAND 211
CHAPTER 18 SHROUDED FIGURE 225
CHAPTER 19 A VILLAGE CALLED NEW YORK 241
CHAPTER 20 TEA WITH THE TALIBAN 261
CHAPTER 21 RUMSFELD'S SHOES 278
CHAPTER 22 "THE ENEMY IS IGNORANCE" 297
CHAPTER 23 STONES INTO SCHOOLS 314
THREE CUPS OF TEA
IN MR. MORTENSON'S ORBIT
The little red light had been flashing for five minutes before Bhangoo paid it any attention. "The fuel gages on these old aircraft are notoriously unreliable," Brigadier General Bhangoo, one of Pakistan's most experienced high-altitude helicopter pilots, said, tapping it. I wasn't sure if that was meant to make me feel better.
I rode next to Bhangoo, looking down past my feet through the Vietnam-era Alouette's bubble windshield. Two thousand feet below us a river twisted, hemmed in by rocky crags jutting out from both sides of the Hunza Valley. At eye level, we soared past hanging green glaciers, splintering under a tropical sun. Bhangoo flew on unperturbed, flicking the ash of his cigarette out a vent, next to a sticker that said "No smoking."
From the rear of the aircraft Greg Mortenson reached his long arm out to tap Bhangoo on the shoulder of his flight suit. "General, sir," Mortenson shouted, "I think we're heading the wrong way."
Brigadier Bhangoo had been President Musharraf's personal pilot before retiring from the military to join a civil aviation company. He was in his late sixties, with salt-and-pepper hair and a mustache as clipped and cultivated as the vowels he'd inherited from the private British colonial school he'd attended as boy with Musharraf and many of Pakistan's other future leaders.
The general tossed his cigarette through the vent and blew out his breath. Then he bent to compare the store-bought GPS unit he balanced on his knee with a military-grade map Mortenson folded to highlight what he thought was our position.