Study Guide

Three Cups of Tea Chapter 22

By Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

Chapter 22

"The Enemy is Ignorance"

  • Mortenson meets with a journalist named Kevin Fedarko in Korphe to help him write an article about the conflict between India and Pakistan.
  • While they're sippin' tea in the meeting hut, a woman named Jahan comes up. She's from the Korphe school, and she says that Mortenson promised to help her achieve her goals to become a doctor when she was done with school.
  • Well, she's done with school, so it's time to pony up. She needs twenty thousand rupees to begin medical training.
  • Mortenson says he'll discuss it with her father, but Jahan's all, nope, now.
  • He gives her the money, and Kevin Fedarko is so impressed, he writes an article about it for Parade magazine.
  • When everyone opens up their Sunday papers (which people still kind of read back then) and cracks open the Parade, they're so amazed by Mortenson that the letters and donations start rolling in.
  • Mortenson says, "I felt like America had spoken. My tribe had spoken" (22.31).
  • With so much business rolling in, Mortenson rents an office, hires employees, and accepts a raise.
  • He also hires some of his Pakistani friends, like Suleiman and Hussain, full time, and pays to send Parvi's daughter to private high school.
  • In summer 2003, there's a problem: Yakub, a porter Mortenson met back in 1993, has chained a school's doors shut because he was denied the position of watchman.
  • Mortenson drives up there and hands him dynamite and tells him that he might as well just blow the school up if he's going to close it.
  • Later, Mouzafer tells Yakub to open the school or he'll tie him to a tree and blow him up himself.
  • The school reopens, and Yakub is forced to sweep it every morning without pay as punishment.
  • Finally, in August 2003, they get the ruling from the Shariat Court: Yet another fatwa against Mortenson is lifted. Boo ya.
  • When Mortenson is being transported via helicopter by Brigadier General Bhangoo, he tells Bhangoo about the conflict with Agha Mubarek, who issued the latest fatwa, and Bhangoo dive-bombs Mubarek's house to scare him.
  • Later, Bhangoo's boss, Brigadier General Bashir Baz, tells Mortenson that "the enemy is ignorance" (22.86)—just like the chapter title says—and that Osama is a "creation of America" (22.86).
  • He says that the only way to fix things is to build relationships with everyone. And then he orders buckets of KFC, which is another good way to fix things.
  • Before Mortenson leaves Pakistan, secure that he's done all he can, Jahan tells him that she wants to be a "Superlady" (22.103) and thanks to Mortenson, she totally can be.

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