Good Neighbours And Cups Of Tea

Icebergs on the causeway have to be cleared before folk in ordinary cars like mine dare cross to the mainland. Poor Ruth, however, has to get to or back from her mainland doctors' surgery before these have been cleared. Some islanders have large landrovers. One of them handed over hers, with the keys, so Ruth could get across in that. Another took her across the causeway in his vehicle, until she could pick up her car that she had parked by the A1. Good neighbours!

In his Christmas newsletter my cousin, Father Ken, tells about another good neighbour,US mountaineer Greg Mortenson. Although he failed to climb K2 in Pakistan, the world's second highest mountain, he came to know the people of a nearby village and their need of education. As a result he has been responsible for building 131 schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. He describes these in his book 'Three Cups of Tea'. This title derives from the local custom that the first time you share a cup of tea you are a stranger, the second time you are an honoured guest, and the third time you are one of the family and they would do anything for you. Greg was taught by one of the local chiefs how to share three cups of tea, to slow down and make building relationships as important as building projects.

Posted at 02:31am on 9th December 2010
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