Last year I read the book Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson, and began to picture a far-off land, people and culture very different from anything I've ever known. Recently his second book, Stones into Schools came into my hands. While only able to catch small snatches of reading time in two very busy weeks, still a growing realization is occurring within.

How would life be without the opportunity for education? The concept just doesn't sink in. I try to wrap my head around it, and can't. My frame of reference hasn't included something like this before. Because I love learning and being a woman, if learning to read had been denied especially because of my gender, what difference would it have made? I cannot fathom it. Long-standing cultural traditions have deprived women of education in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Greg Mortenson has understood the profound impact and ripple effect of even one child's education. He takes that yet further, saying repeatedly, "If you educate a boy, you educate an individual, but if you educate a girl, you educate a community."  My heart responds with deep gratitude for literacy opportunities afforded in my own life and in my own country. My heart also goes out in gratitude and respect for Greg Mortenson and the difference he is making in Central Asia.