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Greg Mortenson's family especially his duaghter was also part of the mission to help the needy kids in a troubled part of the world - one penny at a time. Before Greg Mortenson reveals the most powerful piece of advice ever imparted to him by his 12 year-old duaghter, Amira, where he wants to chat a bit about whether or not he is bad dad. It is very clear that Amira has a confidence and self-possession far beyond her years. Greg mission in Pakistan and Afghanistan which is based upon giving education to children to reduce ingnorance which is the real enemy that causes hatred.

Teacher, Can We Go Now? NO (07/19/09)

external image DSC_0008.JPG.jpgAdmiral Mike Mullen, Chairman Joint Chiefs Of Staff and Greg Mortenson in Pushgur village, Afghanistan, July 15, 2009

Good Housekeeping (June 2009)

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Shi'ite Muslim girls play in the grounds of Jafarabad Community Girls School. Behind are the high peaks surrounding the Shigar Valley

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nonfiction to fiction. And he prefers reading to television, music or even parties.

“He doesn't watch movies,” Bishop said. “He doesn't have a pulse at all on popular media.”

He also doesn't, at this point, have a lot of friends he socializes with at home, Bishop said.

“He doesn't have time for it. His friends are his staff. They get him, his quirkiness,” she said. “He's a little cynical about western, American culture, the power stuff that's such a big part of how we interact here, the teasing, the one-up-manship and the humor around belittling. It baffles him.”


Instead, he focuses on relationships he needs overseas to accomplish his goals of literacy and peace - a lesson he said he learned from his dad, Dempsey.

“My dad worked closely with the Tanzanians, especially his handyman, John Moshe,” Mortenson said. “The expats often scoffed at him, saying he should have the upper hand and be the boss. But he believed everybody was part of the team.”

Mortenson has integrated that philosophy into his own work in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

“If anything happens to me, everything will be taken care of over there,” he said. “We have amazing staff and we have amazing community support.”

That staff, his central team, is largely a result of serendipity, composed of people that Mortenson tripped over in his work and later hired. But the team is devoted to Mortenson. And the feeling is mutual.

“I consider my staff to be family,” Mortenson said. “They are prepared to give up everything they have to help CAI. They are all family men who have kids and wives. But they are willing to be gone from their families even more than me, for months at a time.

“They are the ones who go to the village with the hardened mullah, trying to convince them to send girls to school, who really push the envelope in working with different ethnic groups, Sunni and Shia, and different politicians, bringing the hardest opponents together with the proponents and work until they come up with some solution.”

Most of the staff are not highly educated, either, he said, “yet they are willing to work very had to learn difficult skills.”

They have flaws, he said. Sometimes they push too hard when it might be better to give people time.

“I love them dearly as my family, but sometimes I have to remind them that to do business, sometimes it takes" time, he said.


While a lot of the village work might be handled by the in-country staff, the fundraising and public speaking is exclusively Mortenson's job. And it takes a toll.

“The success of all this has forced me to become a much more public person,” he said. “I'm rather shy and reserved by nature, and at first it was really hard on me. But the more I do this, the more comfortable it is. And I really want to do this because I want to promote education and promote peace. But I have to raise money.

“The hard part is that I've been married for 12 years and more than 65 months of that time, I haven't been with my family.”

“It's a tricky thing for Greg,” Bishop said. “I think he would like to do it all. I don't think can't is in his vocabulary. He really is committed to those little kids over there. And he has a huge heart.

“But I miss him, that's the biggest thing. I'd like more time with him. That's the part that makes me sad.”

The other thing Bishop would like her husband to do is take a little better care of himself; he's paying a price for the pace he keeps.

“I get frustrated because his life is so overwhelming,” she said. “I'm happy for his success and what it means for the world and for him. But I wish he could have some more time to catch up with himself, to be able to slow down a little bit and fully think. He's truly an introvert and he's not getting what all introverts need, which is time unplugged."