How long does it take you to trust someone? Here in the United States, we’re constantly reminding our children to never speak to strangers. We’re trying to protect them, but are we also unintentionally alienating them from other people? How do our fears for their – and our – safety impact our ability to be hospitable to others?
These are not questions that concern the people of Korphe in a remote region of northern Pakistan. In Korphe, the ethnic Balti villagers have a practice:
“In their culture, the first cup you are a stranger, and by the second tea gathering you become a friend, and with the third cup you become family, and they will protect you with their life and are ready to do business, but the process takes several years,” (Greg Mortenson, author, Three Cups of Tea).
Mortenson’s book, Three Cups of Tea, tells the story of how he was nursed back to health after arriving in the village of Korphe, Pakistan. He had unsuccessfully attempted to climb K2 and the experience left him ill and weak. The villagers nursed him back to health. In gratitude, he promised to build them a school. Since 1995, he has built 79 schools, including the Korphe school.