Booktalking "Listen to the Wind" by Greg Mortenson and Susan Roth

  • by Miranda J. McDermott

    The kids of Korphe, a village in Pakistan, lived in a very do-it-yourself environment. They were a society of farmers and weavers. The people made their own clothes and produced their own food. The kids even made their own toys. Prior to having a school, they held classes outside and drew lines in the dirt with sticks. So it comes as no surprise that the people of Korphe were able to create their own school, with the help of a nurse named Greg Mortenson.

    Nurse Greg found himself in Pakistan while on a mountain-climbing trip. The village of Korphe is surrounded by the Karakorum Mountain range. Mortenson was sick, hungry and tired when he met the people of Korphe. Luckily, they were willing to rehabilitate him, and he asked them what they would like him to do for them. Korphe needed a school. He said that he would be back, and one year later, he made good on his promise.

    Kids and adults of the Pakistani village were happy to build a bridge to enable them to transport the construction materials that they would need for the school to the building grounds. The adults carried heavy materials on their backs across the bridge. Kids helped mix stones into the cement to make the walls of their school stronger. Julia, the librarian, made sure that the school's library was adequately stocked with books. Julia, Greg, and the people of Korphe were able to construct a school for this community.

    Listen to the Wind: the Story of Dr. Greg and Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and Susan Roth, 2009

    I loved the collages in the book, which really gave the book a homemade feel. I was also intrigued to discover that Greg Mortenson helped oversee 57 more schools that were built in Pakistan and Afghanistan. However, there are some questions about how the funds were appropriated in the Central Asia Institute, a nonprofit which he co-founded. Also, I looked into Greg Mortenson's credentials. He has a degree in nursing; he is not a physician.