Three Cups of Tea

Three Cups of Tea Glossary


A term meaning, "If Allah allows it." It can be used in a variety of ways, usually to express hope for a desirable outcome, but also as a conversation filler.

Army Commendation Medal

The Army Commendation Medal is a venerable award established in 1945 to recognize meritable performance in the Army not conducted while actively operating against an enemy.


Belonging to the region of Baltistan, in northern Pakistan.


A shoulder-belt made for holding bullet cartridges.


A temporary campsite, often without shelter.


A guard or watchman.

Dervla Murphy

An Irish cyclist and travel writer, best know for her memoir about a bicycle trip through Europe, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India.


A prayer or supplication in Islam.

Garrison Keillor

An American author and radio personality best known for his public radio show A Prairie Home Companion. His work is considered representative and insightful of Midwestern American life.


To shake rapidly or vibrate noticeably.


Literally, "one who struggles in the path for Allah." Can encompass people performing jihad (whatever its form), and in the context of Three Cups of Tea, means Afghan "freedom fighters" who staved off a Soviet invasion (1979-89).


The chief of a village.


An inflammation of the pleura (lining of the lungs) that causes chest pain; it is usually caused by viral infection.


A religious practice involving the social exclusion of women.


"Sir" or "master"; often used in Southeast Asia, especially in colonial India, to address Europeans.

Salaam Alaaikum

A traditional Muslim greeting meaning "peace to you."


A small city in the San Francisco Bay area of northern California.


San Francisco International Airport.

Shalwar Kamiz

A pair of loose-fitting pants and a tunic or long shirt. Traditional dress in South and Central Asia.


A string of Muslim prayer beads.


Located in the Southern part of Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas, this 6,000-square-mile parcel of land is mostly inhabited by ethnic Pashtuns.


A yak-hair bridge.