Study Guide

Three Cups of Tea Chapter 18

By Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

Chapter 18

Shrouded Figure

  • Poor Greg Mortenson has to set up two hundred folding chairs by himself. (What, he can't move them with his mind at this point?)
  • He's giving a fund-raising talk at a sports store… and no one comes.
  • His audience is made up of employees and one "professional-looking" customer. (We're not sure what it means to look professional in a sports store, but we're hoping it looks something like this.)
  • After Mortenson's talk, one of the employees gives him a ten-spot, even though he was planning on buying beer after work.
  • We're not sure, but Mortenson probably treats himself to a couple of beers with that ten because Mr. Professional secretly left a check for twenty thousand dollars—and as Tom Brokaw learned in "580 Letters, One Check," Mortenson doesn't exactly value small donations.
  • Meanwhile, the CAI is having trouble with Mortenson because he doesn't communicate with the board when he's at home—and to make matters worse, he doesn't want to hire a staff or delegate projects.
  • Hoerni's widow quits the CAI board because of this. Makes sense.
  • Mortenson does hire an assistant, though, and decides he needs to court more high donors.
  • One woman, Vera Kurtz, ends up not having a lot of money—she just wants to invite Mortenson to her home, give him a nude massage, and seduce him.
  • Mortenson's wife tells him that he needs to set limits on how much time he spends in Pakistan and to learn to manage his time better.
  • He takes a trip to Southeast Asia to take a course in development in 2000 and decides to visit Mother Teresa's body. She was one of his biggest heroes, and, according to Mortenson, she "just died" (18.69)—because we guess, for Mortenson, three years is like the blink of an eye (Mother Teresa died in 1997).
  • Mortenson goes back home, and everyone gushes about how wonderful he is, and Tara gives birth to another child: Khyber.

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