"The storage space smelled like Africa" (4.1). (Which smells like what? The Sahara? The Congo? The Lion King? Pro tip: Africa's an entire freaking continent…)
Mortenson goes through his storage shed and reminisces about his childhood.
His parents were teachers in East Africa, between Kenya and Rwanda. Mortenson grew up there, along with his sensitive sister Christa, and his other two sisters, Kari and Sonja Joy, whom we never hear about.
When they returned to the United States, Mortenson was bullied for being from Africa, but he soon adapted to American culture.
He later enrolled in the Army and was awarded the Army Commendation Medal; then he went to Concordia College on a football scholarship.
When his dad died, Mortenson worried about losing Christa, so he researched epilepsy, but realized that a cure was impossible.
So he moved out West to be a nurse and mountain climber.
One day, Mortenson fell "eight hundred vertical feet" (4.50), and somehow survived. However, that day, Christa died.
Back in the present, Mortenson wonders how to raise money for a school to honor Christa's memory.