Arts, Culture & Media

Peace Corps Friendship Changes Lives in Kenya and Beyond

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Dr. Mohamud Said and his Peace Corps instructor, Dr. Russell Morgan. ( Photo: Courtesy National Peace Corps Association )

Mohamud Sheikh Nurein Said says he was a skinny school boy in northern Kenya when he first met Peace Corps volunteer Russell Morgan in 1965. Today Dr. Said is the president of the Kenyan Medical Association and has coordinated efforts at massive refugee camps on the Somalia-Kenya border. He traces some of his inspiration back to his early encounters with Morgan.

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"We couldn't understand why somebody would leave his luxuries in America and come to the remotest area in the country where there was not even a proper road," he says. "We didn't even have a proper science laboratory, but the way he presented science it encouraged us, and we got excited and wanted to learn more."

Morgan taught Said high school biology and physics as a volunteer in the dusty northern Kenyan outpost of Marsabit.

"We had to improvise," Morgan explains. "I had to teach a number of subjects that were sort of a total anathema to many of these students, including for example magnetism. No one in the class had ever seen a magnet, much less understood the concept."

Dr. Said has received the 2013 Harris Wofford Global Citizen Award from the National Peace Corps Association and says he's the first person from his town to be trained as a doctor.

Dr. Morgan is the former Chair of Encore Service Corps International, and the former president of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Immunology and Aging.

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