Study Guide

Three Cups of Tea Chapter 5

By Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

Chapter 5

580 Letters, One Check

  • This chapter sounds like a disgusting viral video sensation, but it's actually about Mortenson sending off letters requesting donations for his cause.
  • Mortenson starts typing up letters on a typewriter to Oprah asking for money. Just twelve grand will do, please.
  • No, it's not 1893, it's 1993, so someone shows Mortenson this hot new gadget called a computer and he's able to print out 580 letters in a matter of minutes.
  • Meanwhile, he's living in his car, nicknamed La Bomba, and dating a hot doctor named Marina; they go camping on the weekends.
  • One day, Tom Brokaw sends Mortenson his only response: A letter wishing him luck and a check for one hundred dollars.
  • Later, Mortenson gets a message from a guy named Dr. Jean Hoerni (hold your giggles, please), who's a rich old climber and wants to help Mortenson with his goals.
  • Mortenson calls him, and Hoerni asks, "if I give you fund [sic] for your school, you're not going to piss off to some beach somewhere in Mexico, smoke dope, and screw your girlfriend, are you?" (5.43).
  • Mortenson says no and Hoerni sends him a check for twelve thousand dollars.
  • To make more money for his plane ticket, Mortenson sells all his belongings, even his beloved La Bomba, and gets ready to fly back to Pakistan.
  • (Hmm… "580 Letters, One Check," eh? We count two checks. Sorry, Brokaw, your measly hundred bucks don't count.)