The ambition of Greg Mortenson to educate the children of northern Pakistan is a formidable task. An additional benefit that he realized after building numerous schools is that they provide an opportunity for the impoverished to receive a balanced education. This is important considering the extremist education being taught at the Wahhabi madrassas to teenage boys.

For Mortenson, it takes some time for him to understand the culture that he is immersing himself into. Haj Ali, the Korphe Village Chief, is Mortenson’s mentor. One of the most important events was when Haj Ali took the plumb line, corner square, and account book from Mortenson at the onset of the building of Korphe’s school. This taught took the control out of Mortenson’s hands and allowed the people of the village to work as they had for centuries. At the end of the summer, the school was constructed with straight walls, square corners, and Haj Ali providing a detailed account of all the materials used. While the school was not built using the methods Mortenson wanted to use, it did get completed and that was the goal.

Lastly, why was Mortenson accepted into the culture and society of northern Pakistan? I contend that it was because he was a man who happened to be an American. As compared to an American who happened to be a man. If he had accepted the money from the US government and tainted the purity of his funding, he would have lost all credibility with the people he was trying to help. For example, if he had been using US military funding when he was captured and held in Waziristan, most likely, he would have been murdered. Mortenson was as successful as he was due to the funding of his projects by donations from kind-hearted people and not from a government, regardless of the created name that donated it.