About the Book:
TIGER HEART: My Unexpected Adventures to Make a Difference in Darjeeling and What I Learned About Fate, Fortitude, and Finding Family Half a World Away (October 2015), Katrell Christie tells her remarkable story – how an impromptu trip to India inspired her to house and educate the country’s displaced young girls. Katrell never intended to visit India. In fact, her dream getaway involved a tropical beach and a margarita. But when this former art student turned roller-derby-rebel-turned-tea-shop owner met three teenage girls at a crowded Buddhist orphanage in Darjeeling, Katrell knew she had to help. What began as a trip on a whim proved to be a life-altering experience that would change the fate of these displaced girls, and others to follow. Katrell soon would find a new purpose in India, and in the most unlikely way, her life would be eternally entwined with women from a whole new world. TIGER HEART is beautifully written and offers a shot-gun seat on an inspiring trek across the globe, capturing the essence of India: its quirks, its traditions, and its people. It examines the ties that bind us, the power that each of us has to make a difference, and the way we live, love and find meaning in our lives.
While in Darjeeling, Katrell learned that the girls in this orphanage would soon “age out,” without any place to go and that the fate of many of them was bleak. At 16-years-old the girls are “evicted” from the orphanage and left to fend for themselves in a society where one’s family is the vital support network. Many of these girls faced grim futures as laborers or domestic servants. Some might have been relegated to lives of sexual exploitation. When Katrell learned about these “throwaway” girls, she couldn't walk away. Instead she moved forward--on a mission to help in any way, and once back in Atlanta, founded The Learning Tea, which today has offered scholarships to 11 young women in Darjeeling. By selling tea, cupcakes, scones, and other items, Katrell raised enough funds to provide life necessities for the girls, providing them with life necessities -- a safe home, an education, uniforms, medical care, as well as music lessons, tutoring, computer classes, and other extracurricular activities -- all because of one unlikely hero and her tea shop.
TIGER HEART recounts Katrell's riveting adventures in India, through the chaotic streets of Mumbai, to tiny villages with roadside tea huts and hot samosas, to elephant crossings and snow-capped mountain switchbacks of the Himalayas--an unexpected backdrop where Katrell fell in love with a country that was gorgeous and heartbreaking all at once, where tragedy, humor, resilience and kindness were inextricably bound. Katrell has readers sipping tea with her at roadside tea huts and tasting hot samosas. The smells from small villages waft from the pages as readers 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. Katrell dodges feral monkeys, slams shots of whiskey to win acceptance at a local Rotary Club, and forges lasting friendships with the people who step up to help her cause. Katrell will inspire readers as she shares her story and her mission to make a difference through the power of educating girls. Fate may have led Katrell to a tiny spot on a map, but it was a kinship that brought her back home a half a world away.
I am typically not big on non fiction books, simply because time doesn't allow me to read them just for fun. This one stood out to me though from the description above and I knew it was one that I would really like. I love companies that 'give back', and what better than a story about how Katrell was motivated to give back as well.
The descriptions in the book take you to the places in Mumbai. I doubt I will ever be able to visit, yet in this book a part of me feels like I did. It is very descriptive in nature.
I loved how such an 'unlikely' person, one being female and two being from the United States, was able to achieve all that she did. Through her, 11 girls have had a life change. These girls now have a future, all because Katrell had a vision.
It really is a beautiful story!
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I did receive a galley of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are solely my own.
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