Said on The Hill
By Jonathan Pearson on Thursday, June 27th, 2013
As the saying goes, there’s no rest for the weary. That would certainly apply to this year’s winner of the Harris Wofford Global Citizen Award, Dr. Mohamud Sheikh Nurein Said of Kenya.
Wednesday morning, fourteen hours after a trans-Atlantic journey across eight time zones (from Nairobi to Washington), Dr. Said began a long, full day on Capitol Hill.
But he wasn’t fazed by fatigue. That’s probably not surprising for a physician who has devoted his life to bringing comfort and care to those in need. As anyone on the front lines of health care knows, pain and suffering doesn’t adhere to a 9 to 5 schedule.
And so it was that Dr. Said’s arrival on Capitol Hill began Wednesday at 8 AM, after
his internal clock awoke him at 4 AM. Joined throughout the day by National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) President Glenn Blumhorst and Russell Morgan, his Peace Corps science teacher from fifty years ago, Dr. Said met several Returned Peace Corps Volunteer members of Congress, as well as a half-dozen other lawmakers and staff representing key committees crucial to the future of the Peace Corps.
While he had toured the Capitol once before, this was the first time Dr. Said participated in congressional meetings. “It was a very interesting experience. I was impressed with how accommodating the offices were. They gave their time, exchanged ideas. It was a nice gesture.”
As he opened his remarks, Dr. Said expressed his honor to meet various lawmakers and staff. The feeling was clearly mutual. Dr. Said shared his extensive work in
service to others, inspired in part by his early exposure to the U.S. Peace Corps.
He spoke of his long-standing leadership within the Kenya Red Cross, which now has nearly 100,000 volunteers. His seven years of pro-bono reconstructive surgery for the poor in East Africa. His global leadership within the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims. He also spoke passionately about recent work to introduce Kenyan-based prosthetic work, noting the tears of joy of a father in a remote village when his nine-year-old son – fitted with artificial legs – walked to his dad when he returned home.
As funding for the Peace Corps faces a highly challenging fiscal environment, Dr. Said brought an often forgotten voice to Capitol Hill: The voice of the Host Country National who benefits from experiencing the Peace Corps. “We know (the funding
challenges) are difficult,” he said. ”We hope (lawmakers) can take this discussion on the Peace Corps to the next level.”
Dr. Mohamud Said receives the Harris Wofford Award this Saturday at Peace Corps Connect – Boston 2013.
Learn more about the status of Peace Corps funding.