Tiger Heart by Katrell Christe

Katrell Christie never expected to start a charitable non-profit organization in India. In fact, she never had any intentions to even visit the country. The Atlanta native was perfectly content overseeing her eclectic tea shop, Dr. Bombay. To be fair, she had never intended to run the shop either. Before she bought the establishment, Dr. Bombay was a local coffee store that Katrell frequented. When the owner mentioned that the shop would be sold, Katrell intervened. Before the fresh coat of paint was dry on the walls, Katrell began building lasting relationships with the customers of her newly established tea shop. It was one of these customers who convinced her to take a vacation to India. Little did she know that this trip would change her life.

Katrell did not immediately fall in love with India. In fact, she initially regretted her decision to spend her first vacation in six years in a poverty stricken, overpopulated country. She could have been on a beach sipping margaritas instead! But at the insistence of her good friend Cate, she agreed to volunteer by helping women in one of the local industries. As Katrell worked alongside women who meticulously labored for pennies a day, she began to fall in love with the people of India. Their kindness and generosity in spite of their poverty, deeply affected her. As she volunteered at an orphanage in Darjeeling, a tea producing area, Katrell began to recognize a real need.

In India, women are not granted the same rights as men. In fact, many families of the lowers castes will place their unwanted daughters into orphanage simply because of their gender. Girls can stay in the orphanage until they are seventeen. At that point they must either begin working in some menial job or be forced into an arranged marriage. While there is plenty of support for orphanages and higher education, there was a real gap between the two. Katrell befriended three older girls in the orphanage and vowed to return to find a way to help them bridge that gap.

Back in Atlanta, Katrell began to form the basis for her charity. Starting with those three girls from the orphanage, she would support them by giving them a place to live, food to eat, and any other support they would need to pursue a higher education. This would afford them the chance to rise above their poverty and work for a life that they could become self-sufficient from. Placing an old fish bowl on the counter of her shop, Katrell asked customers to donate the change from their drinks for this worthy cause. From these very humble beginnings, her organization Learning Tea was born.

In Tiger Heart, Katrell Christie chronicles the genesis of her charitable organization. Each chapter of the book provides short and insightful anecdotes about her background and experiences in India. Christie's dry wit rings through each page as she speaks of both her successes and failures. What she lacked in experience (and she certainly admits to all of her shortcomings), she made up for in good intention and sheer willpower. Ultimately, Tiger Heart is a funny and inspiring story of the way in which even the smallest of actions can make a huge impact on the lives of others.

For more information, visit the author's website, Amazon, and GoodReads. Also, check out the full tour schedule for this book.

(2015, 31)

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2 Responses to “Tiger Heart by Katrell Christe”

  1. I so admire people who have the drive and determination to make a difference in the world!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.

  2. Thanks Heather! I'm excited to feature some more books as part of TLC Book Tours this month!


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