Sunday, August 23, 2009

Three Cups of Tea

I've mentioned before that my son, Geoff, is starting at FGCU next week. He's already moved into his dorm and just waiting to start classes tomorrow. He and all of the other incoming freshmen had a summer reading assignment: "Three Cups of Tea" by Greg Mortenson. The book describes Mortenson's 15+ years dedicating himself to building schools for children in the most remote, mountainous areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan, at considerable cost to Mortenson's own personal life and often his very safety. I love that he says educating girls is especially important because it helps to break the cycles of poverty and violence so often found in these areas.

I already had the book and so Lowell and I both read it along with Geoff, discussing the chapters as we finished them. I was pleasantly surprised that Geoff liked the book and found it interesting. We often marveled at how one man can make such a difference in the lives of so many people, so far away, through sheer dedication and determination.

Today was the Freshman Convocation at FGCU, a formal and moving way to begin one's college career, I believe. After speeches from faculty and administrators, Greg Mortenson was the featured speaker. He was a charming, erudite, funny, self-effacing and inspirational speaker. The crowd of students and parents were uniformly captivated. It makes your heart glad to know that there are people in this world like Greg Mortenson.

We drove Geoff back to his dorm and didn't expect to hear from him for a while. But he called a few hours later from the cafeteria, very excited, because "Guess what mom? I shook hands with Greg, and I got my picture taken with him!" Already on a first name basis, that's what kind of guy this is. I told Geoff he has to send me a copy of this picture! Someday he will look back on this and maybe he'll have a photo of himself with a Nobel Peace Prize winner -- Mortenson has been nominated for the award this year!

We are having a quiet evening at home now. I made homemade pesto from the basil plant in my backyard, a big showy, glorious shrub of fragrant green goodness. If there was ever a reason to be thankful you have a nose, basil is as good a reason as any.

1 comment:

Glitzer said...

Oh wow! This is an inspiring post, a definite great start to college!