I tried to be a tough but fair 1)taskmaster,” Mortenson says. “I spent all day at the construction site, from sunrise to sunset, using my 2)level to make sure the walls were even and my 3)plumb line to check that they were standing straight. I always had my notebook in my hand, and kept my eyes on everyone, anxious to account for every 4)rupee. I didn’t want to disappoint 5)Jean Hoerni, so I drove people hard.”
One clear afternoon at the beginning of August, Haji Ali tapped Mortenson on the shoulder at the construction site and asked him to take a walk. The old man led the former climber uphill for an hour, on legs still strong enough to 6)humble the much younger man. Mortenson felt precious time slipping away, and by the time Haji Ali halted on a narrow ledge high above the village, Mortenson was 7)panting. Haji Ali waited until Mortenson caught his breath, then instructed him to look at the view. The air had the fresh-scrubbed clarity that only comes with altitude. Beyond Korphe K2, the ice peaks of the inner 8)Karakoram 9)knifed 10)relentlessly into a 11)defenseless blue sky. A thousand feet below, Korphe, green with ripening barley fields, looked small and vulnerable, a life raft adrift on a sea of stone.
Haji Ali reached up and laid his hand on Mortenson’s shoulder. “These mountains have been here a long time,” he said. “And so have we.” He reached for his rich brown 12)lambswool topi, the only symbol of authority Korphe’s nurmadhar ever wore, and centered it on his silver hair. “You can’t tell the mountains what to do,” he said, 13)with an air of 14)gravity that 15)trans?xed Mortenson as much as the view. “You must learn to listen to them. So now I am asking you to listen to me. You have done much for my people, and we appreciate it. But now you must do one more thing for me.”
“Anything,” Mortenson said.
“Sit down. And shut your mouth,” Haji Ali said. “You’re making everyone crazy.”
“Then he reached out and took my plumb line, and my level and my account book, and he walked back down to Korphe,” Mortenson says. “I followed him all the way to his house, worrying about what he was doing. He took the key he always kept around his neck on a leather 16)thong, opened a cabinet decorated with faded Buddhist wood carvings, and locked my things in there, alongside a 17)shank of 18)curing 19)ibex, his prayer beads, and his old British 20)musket gun. Then he asked Sakina to bring us tea.”
Mortenson waited nervously for half an hour while Sakina 21)brewed the paiyu cha. Haji Ali ran his fingers along the text of the 22)Koran that he cherished above all his belongings, turning pages randomly and mouthing almost silent Arabic prayer as he stared out into inward space. When the porcelain bowls of 23)scalding butter tea steamed in their hands, Haji Ali spoke. “If you want to thrive in 24)Baltistan, you must respect our ways,” Haji Ali said, 25)blowing on his bowl. “The first time you share tea with a Balti, you are a stranger. The second time you take tea, you are an honored guest. The third time you share a cup of tea, you become family, and for our family, we are prepared to do anything, even die,” he said, laying his hand warmly on Mortenson’s own. “Doctor Greg, you must make time to share three cups of tea. We may be uneducated. But we are not stupid. We have lived and survived here for a long time.”
“That day, Haji Ali taught me the most important lesson I’ve ever learned in my life,” Mortenson says. “We Americans think you have to accomplish everything quickly. We’re the country of thirty-minute power lunches and two-minute football drills. Haji Ali taught me to share three cups of tea, to slow down and make building relationships as important as building projects. He taught me that I had more to learn from the people I work with than I could ever hope to teach them.”
Three weeks later, with Mortenson 26)demoted from 27)foreman to spectator, the walls of the school had risen higher than the American’s head and all that remained was putting on the roof.
【历尽艰辛，1997年8月初，科尔飞学校竣工。葛瑞格·摩顿森带着妻子塔拉和不满一岁的女儿阿蜜拉·摩顿森重返科尔飞参加开学典礼。随行的人还有中亚协会（Central Asia Institute，简称CAI）理事珍妮弗·威尔森和茱莉亚·柏格曼等。珍妮弗和茱莉亚花了好几个月的时间收集书籍，准备帮科尔飞建一所图书馆。学校的每间教室里都放了几十张全新的桌椅，地上还铺了地?#28023;?#20813;得冬天时孩?#29992;?#30340;脚受?#22330;?#26377;史以来头一次，科尔飞的孩?#29992;?#21487;以坐在坚固的教室里，开始每天固定的学习……】
Jahan and her classmate Tahira, the Korphe School’s ?rst two female graduates, had come to Skardu together, as two of the CAI’s ?rst harvest of scholarship students. And on his last day in Skardu, when Mortenson stopped by with Jahan’s father, Twaha, to inquire about the girls’ progress, Jahan took pride in preparing tea for him herself, as her grandmother Sakina had so often done. While Mortenson sipped the Lipton Tea, brewed, not from handfuls of torn leaves and 28)rancid 29)yak milk, but from tap water and bags bought in Skardu’s 30)bazaar, he wondered what Sakina would have made of it. He imagined she would prefer her paiyu cha. Of her granddaughter, he was certain, she would be very proud. 31)Courtesy of the CAI, both Jahan and Tahira were taking a full complement of classes at the private Girls’ Model High School, including English grammar, formal 32)Urdu, Arabic, physics, economics, and history.
Tahira told Mortenson that once she graduated, she planned to return to Korphe and teach alongside her father, Hussein. “I’ve had this chance,” she said. “I think every girl of the Braldu deserves the chance to come downside at least once. Then their life will change. I think the greatest service I can perform is to go back and insure that this happens for all of them.” Jahan, who had come to Skardu planning to become a simple health worker and return to Korphe, was in the process of revising her goals upward. “Before I met you, Dr. Greg, I had no idea what education was,” Jahan said, re?lling his teacup. “But now I think it is like water. It is important for everything in life.”
“What about marriage?” Mortenson asked, knowing that a nurmadhar’s daughter would always be 33)in demand, especially a pretty girl of seventeen, and a Balti husband might not support his 34)brash young wife’s ambitions.
“Don’t worry, Dr. Greg,” Twaha said, laughing in the 35)rasping fashion that he’d inherited from Haji Ali. “The girl has learned your lesson too well. She has already made it clear she must finish her studies before we can even discuss marrying her to a suitable boy. And I agree. I will sell all my land if necessary so she can complete her education. I owe that to the memory of my father.”
“So what will you do?” Mortenson asked Jahan.
“You won’t laugh?” she said.
“I might,” Mortenson teased.
Jahan took a breath and 36)composed herself. “When I was a little sort of girl and I would see a gentleman or a lady with good, clean clothes I would run away and hide my face. But after I graduated from the Korphe School, I felt a big change in my life. I felt I was clear and clean and could go before anybody and discuss anything. And now that I am already in Skardu, I feel that anything is possible. I don’t want to be just a health worker. I want to be such a woman that I can start a hospital and be an executive, and look over all the health problems of all the women in the Braldu. I want to become a very famous woman of this area,” Jahan said, 37)twirling the 38)hem of her 39)maroon silk headscarf around her ?nger as she peered out the window, searching for the exact word with which to 40)envision her future. “I want to be a…‘Superlady,’ ” she said, grinning 41)de?antly, daring anyone, any man, to tell her she couldn’t.
Mortenson didn’t laugh after all. Instead, he beamed at the bold granddaughter of Haji Ali and imagined the contented look that would have been on the old nurmadhar’s face if he had lived long enough to see this day, to see the seed they planted together 42)bear such splendid fruit. Five hundred and eighty letters, and ten years of work was a small price to pay, Mortenson thought, for such a moment.