Study Guide

Three Cups of Tea Chapter 19

By Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

Chapter 19

A Village Called New York

  • Mortenson and Hussain are checking out something called a Wahhabi madrassa—they're schools popping up around Pakistan, which Mortenson would be excited about except (1) they're not his schools, and (2) "Some of them seem to exist only to teach militant jihad" (19.24).
  • Conflict is brewing between Pakistan and Afghanistan, and there's lot of political background in this chapter (suicide bombings, changing regimes, all that jazz).
  • One day, Mortenson is hanging out in Zuudkhan village watching a polo game when someone pulls him aside and tells him "A village named New York has been bombed" (19.79). It's September 11, 2001.
  • Mortenson realizes that these Wahhabi madrassas are very dangerous, so it's all the more important for you to give him money to build his schools—the safety of the United States is at stake.
  • He zips around Pakistan, throwing down a few a more schools and receiving gifts like when women "pressed eggs into the Americans' hands" (19.111).
  • When he finally makes it back to Korphe to sip tea with Haji Ali, he has died.
  • Mortenson remembers one of his last talks with Ali, when Mortenson asked what he would do when the man died: "Listen to the wind" (19.131), Haji Ali told him.
  • So Mortenson stands near Braldu Gorge… and listens.

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