Mortenson was invited by George McCown, who served on the board of AHF, for meeting where Sir Edmund Hillary was to deliver a speech. They had met earlier near Korphe, one of those providential meetings. McCown had liked Greg and thought he was a person whom he could trust.
His life took a dramatic turn while at this meeting. McCown and Hoerni offered him a fund of twenty thousand dollars, not for the school, but for his living expenses as he worked to finish the Korphe school. He also met a girl, Tara Bishop, at the meeting and six days later they were married. And two weeks later, after he had postponed his trip twice, he was back in Pakistan.
Greg faced difficulty in getting his material out of Chengazi's office. The sentry told him that Chengazi was not in town and he had no keys for the store and the telephone lines were dead. Again providence came in the guise of Ghulam Parvi, who had managed to build two primary schools on the outskirts of Skardu, before funding from Pakistan dried up. Parvi since then was forced to take up odd accounting jobs and took care of Chengazi's accounts and was at the office. So Greg met the man most qualified in all of northern Pakistan to assist him, a man who shared his goals.
It was clear that Chengazi had no intention of giving the material back to Greg, but Parvi forced the sentry to open the doors of the shed. Greg saw that a third of the material was missing and with Parvi's help arranged to send the remaining material to Korphe.
When Greg had left Korphe, he had marked the layout of the school and had left some money with Haji Ali to get the foundations done. But to his disappointment, he saw no progress except two heaps of stone. Haji Ali instead of hiring people got the villager to volunteer to cut the stones for the foundation to save money and that took time.
Greg was witness to the ceremony performed as they began to dig the foundation for the school. A ram was slaughtered and in the evening they built a fire and danced around it as the moon rose over K2. Korphe women, by now used to Greg, clapped and sang along with their men.He noticed hardly any work was done that day. In fact, they hardly got anything done that fall.
We also get to compare the differences in customs: Twaha was very happy when Greg told him that he had got married and fell silent when learned there was no Bride price to pay and his wife had no father and informed her mother only after they had married. The author called it the exotic matrimonial customs of America.
Greg had observed in a Balti marriage, '...there is a solemn point when you'll see the bride and her mother clinging to each other and crying ...and describes the chaotic scene as the groom's father and bride's father bargain...If a bride leaves an isolated village like Korphe, she knows she may never see her family again.'
Without his help and his wisdom, there would have been no school
Jean Hoerni, who thought Greg was goofy and unbusiness like.
But liked him enough to give him a chance to succeed.
|Material being carried for the Korphe school.|