I really shouldn't be blogging right now because I need to finish my book club book. The book is one that I actually chose and so I will be hosting our group for the month. I often come to book club having only read half of the book. But this time I have to lead the discussion and it will look pretty stupid if I don't know what to talk about. I just did the math and I have to read 30.5 pages each day to get it finished in time. I don't know what it is lately but I seem to have a serious problem with distraction while reading. I bring my book to violin lessons. I have a full 30 minutes to read sitting there on her slouchy love-seat while my boy plays violin. But I am so distracted by the playing that I maybe get 2 paragraphs read if I am lucky. Maybe it's all the asides this book seems to take that make me lose interest. I just want a good story with a plot I think. Maybe my IQ is going down as I age. (Just had that birthday you know).
The story of the book is quite admirable though and I feel myself warming up to it. It's the story of Greg Mortenson. He's a mountain climber who's life is saved when he stumbles down from K2 into the village of Korphe in Pakistan. They save his life, make him drink stinky tea and he, in turn, falls in love with these poor people and promises to build them a school. After many trials he finally gets it done. That's it in a nutshell. I do recommend the book. I just don't recommend reading it in a houseful of noisy children.
The humanitarian nature of Greg M is inspiring. It reminds me of my brother E. He is a DDS in Provo and has an organization called Share a Smile. They have traveled far and wide providing dental care for the poverty ridden. I was lucky enough to be able to go with them on their last trip to Morocco. I think about that trip often. It was life changing for me. Several of my family members are in the dental field and a few if them were there for this trip, but it was a first for me.
The day we arrived I recall being overwhelmed by the poverty. The begging children in the streets were heartbreaking. After dinner in our hotel, we walked across the road to buy bottled water at this hole-in-the-wall shop. The children swarmed around us asking for coins. Suddenly my eyes filled and I was so emotional. I was completely overwhelmed. How is it that we are dealt the hand we are dealt in this life? My sister understood my feelings and told me it was the same for her on her first Share a Smile trip. "You get used to it" she told me.
By the end of our week in Zagora I was amazed at my change of attitude. These people were poor, but not poor in spirit. They had been opening up slowly to us and it was beautiful to see. In the beginning of our week you could see the hesitance when they would look at us. But as we worked hard providing care they began to warm, especially the children. We'd teach them "head shoulders knees and toes" and they'd sing it back followed by another english word they knew "bullshit!" So touching.... By mid-week we had a long lunch hour to shop at their local market. I still remember the baskets made out of old tires. Brilliant! I bought some fruit from a vendor for my lunch.
At our departure it was amazing to see the happy smiling waves out the windows of our bus. It was like we'd made a village full of BFFs. Then I spotted in the street the man who'd sold my sister and I bananas on the previous Wednesday. He called out to us "I sold you a banana!" and it made us feel like rock stars. If I'd had a sharpie I would have signed that banana peel for him. I hope I get to go back some day. For now I will just read about Greg Mortenson and think about what to make for book club refreshments this Thursday. Maybe in remembrance of my market friend, some banana bread...