Book review: Tiger Heart by Katrell Christie & Shannon McCaffrey

Tiger-Heart

 

Paperback: 232 pages
Publisher: HCI (October 6, 2015)
SYNOPSIS:
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Katrell Christie never intended to visit India. In fact, her ideal vacation was a tropical beach where she could relax with a margarita in her hand. But when this former art student turned roller-derby rebel met three teenage girls at a crowded Buddhist orphanage in Darjeeling, she knew she had to help. What started as a trip made on a whim would prove to be a life-altering experience that would change the fate of these lost girls.
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In her new book, Tiger Heart: My Unexpected Adventures to Make a Difference in Darjeeling and WhatI Learned About Fate, Fortitude, and Finding Family Half a World Away (October 2015), Katrell tells her remarkable story – from her quirky Atlanta tea shop to her fight for her young scholars halfway around the globe. Two scholars in the program are set to graduate from college and move on to pursue advanced degrees.
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Most of the girls Katrell met in India faced grim futures as laborers or domestic servants. Some might have been relegated to lives of sexual exploitation. For them, she founded The Learning Tea, which has offered scholarships to 15 young women in Darjeeling, providing them with tuition, housing, clothing and medical care.
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Katrell has us sipping tea with her at roadside tea huts, tasting hot samosas, dodging feral monkeys, and roaming the chaotic streets of Mumbai. The smells of small villages waft from the pages as we accompany her on her riveting and sometimes hilarious adventures across the globe in her mission to empower the young women who have become a part of her family. Join us in experiencing then sharing the inspiring story of one woman and her mission to make a difference through the power of educating girls.
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unnamed-1About the authors:

Katrell Christie is the founder and owner of The Learning Tea, a project which provides schooling and a safe haven for impoverished young women in India. Through her efforts with The Learning Tea, Ms. Christie has changed the lives of many women living in Darjeeling,
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India. Visit TheLearningTea.com for more information.
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Shannon McCaffrey is an award-winning reporter focusing on investigative stories for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  She is an avid reader, a mother, and a runner.
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Connect with the authors:   Website   Twitter    Facebook
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REVIEW:
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As a volunteer worker myself with considerable time spent with the Indian community in Canada, I was curious to read of Katrell’s experiences in Darjeeling.
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From party girl to humanitarian, Katrell’s story is one of trial and error. After surviving her initial culture shock in Varanasi and subsequent trip to Darjeeling, she learns that orphaned girls who, at 17 years of age are forced to leave their orphanages and fend for themselves without the necessary, basic skills.  Katrell is determined to give these girls the self confidence and skills they need to be successful.  I like the fact that she didn’t tell them what they were going to do with their lives, but let these girls decide on their own what they wanted to do with their future.  Part of the Learning Tea Project program was to encourage the girls to give back to the community themselves.  This pay-it-forward program allowed them to earn respect in the community (especially for lower-caste girls) and they also became role models for other impoverished women.
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The last section of the book is entitled “How You Can Help the Learning Tea” for those who wish to contribute to these projects.
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I really enjoyed reading Katrell’s experiences.  The book was a quick read with plenty of photos as well as a sample packing list for travel to India.  Get your backpack ready!
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TLC

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