Materials for Activity
- Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson (New York: Penguin Books, 2007) or Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson, Young Reader's Edition adapted by Sarah Thomson (New York: Puffin, 2009)
- Listen to the Wind by Greg Mortenson (New York: Dial, 2009)
Description of Activity
Youth become familiar with a contemporary story of interfaith work.
Tell the group:
One thing that can be helpful in doing interfaith work is to know how others have dealt with difficulties we might encounter. Greg Mortenson wrote a New York Times bestseller, Three Cups of Tea, which tells the story of his work to build schools with Muslim communities in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Invite the group to start a short-term, multigenerational book club. Adults and older youth can read Mortenson's original version; older children and younger youth can use the Young Reader's version (Read a sample on Google Books.). Children ages 4-8 can read Listen to the Wind.
Bring everyone together to discuss the book. Although younger readers will have an abbreviated version of the story, they can still join in the discussion.
Prompt discussion with these questions:
- What were some hurdles Mortenson faced? How did he overcome them?
- Who helped him along the way? Did all of his helpers belong to the same religion?
- What role(s) does religion play in this story?
- Mortenson worked with people from at least three different Muslims sects. How did he adjust his behavior when working with the different sects?
- The story is told through Mortenson's experience. How could you tell it from the viewpoint of a resident of one of the villages? How would it be different? Interfaith work is a two-way (or more) street. What fears did the villagers have about working with Mortenson? What helped them put their fears aside to work with him?