Three Cups of Tea

by: Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin

Jean Hoerni

Characters Jean Hoerni

Jean Hoerni appears very little in the book, but his support of Mortenson’s project provides the initial boost that allows Mortenson to succeed. In addition, his cantankerous attitude provides an important contrast to Mortenson’s affability. Hoerni’s warning to Mortenson not to “screw up” the Korphe school begins a process in which Mortenson learns to take himself and his mission more seriously. The project, Mortenson realizes, should not be treated as just another adventure. As their relationship develops, Hoerni’s faith in Mortenson becomes both a support and a motivation. Like Mortenson, Hoerni is an eccentric who lives on his own terms, but he is also a humanitarian who takes pride in the accomplishments made possible by his money. One of the most touching parts of the book takes place when Mortenson nurses the dying Hoerni, and Hoerni expresses his feelings of fatherly love for the younger man. Even after his death, Hoerni has a great influence on Mortenson and his work, not only through his endowment to the CAI, but also through the work done by his wife, Jennifer Wilson, and her sister, Julie Bergman.