Evan M. Prewitt
Sociology 399- Sociology of Development
It is hard to say whether Greg Mortenson’s various positions throughout his life led to him becoming a humanitarian, or if the qualities and influences that he had from a young age led him to make the choices that inevitably put him where he is today. Arguably it is both, but where one line ends and the other begins may be hard to distinguish. Mortenson began as a child born into a family of humanitarians, and immersed into another culture. He grew up the continent of Africa, more specifically in Tanzania, where his father headed efforts to develop the first teaching hospital in the country and an international school (Mortenson 36). Additionally, Mortenson’s parent’s relatively lax religious affiliation, in combination with his education taking place in an international school, laid the foundation for his moderate views and aptness to accept different cultures, customs and outlooks throughout the world. Furthermore, correlations between Greg Mortenson and his father can be seen both in personality and in achievement. One can infer from these correlations that Greg Mortenson’s humanitarian accomplishments were influenced, and even proven possible by his father’s accomplishments in Africa as well as his faith in the local people. Another important aspect of Greg Mortenson’s childhood was the lack of emphasis on personal monetary gain. Growing up outside of American culture allowed Greg Mortenson to view money not from an individualistic viewpoint, but more as a means to an end. When he did see large sums of money being spent, it was on community projects meant to create better living conditions for the society as a whole. When comparing Greg Mortenson’s life in Africa to his later childhood in America, you can see that he felt more at home in Africa. This may have led him to internalize the things he experienced and saw their above the customs he...