Keeping up with Mohsin Ahmad

Mohsin Ahmad (front row, second from left) poses with some of his peers at the potluck/presentation organized by the exchange student’s local supporters.
Mohsin Ahmad (front row, second from left) poses with some of his peers at the potluck/presentation organized by the exchange student’s local supporters.

Rappahannock County welcomed back Mohsin Ahmad with a community potluck dinner two weeks ago. Mohsin – a former exchange student at Rappahannock County High School (RCHS) – spent the evening sharing some of his recent achievements and updating his friends on his life.

The Aug. 10 event was organized and hosted by Ellen Adams and Rosa Crocker, two community members who have remained close to Mohsin.

“He made an incredible impact on his peers,” said Crocker, the longtime Flint Hill resident and former school board member who still refers to herself as Mohsin’s “second mother.” “As far as we’re concerned, we’re still his host community.”

Mohsin is originally from Peshawar, Pakistan where he began his education at Peshawar Model School. He attended RCHS for the 2006-07 academic year through the Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program, where he continually ventured outside his comfort zone and embraced the opportunity to try new things, such as joining the school’s marching band despite never having played an instrument before.  He began college in January 2010 at Goucher College in Baltimore.

It was that willingness to continually try new things that made Mohsin an instant favorite among his peers and supporters. “He was just effervescent,” said Adams, of Amissville. “He had a more-than-positive outlook on life.”

Since leaving RCHS, Mohsin has participated in Habitat for Humanity in Alaska, aiding the housing situation for immigrant families. He also studied abroad in China and Hong Kong, and interned with the nonprofit organization Khwendo Kor in Peshawar, which works to gain rights and better circumstances for women and children.

“I want to see people’s basic needs met – electricity, water, food, shelter . . . to see them happy again, visiting, celebrating holidays without fear,” Mohsin said. “I will not stop until I have become the son my ailing motherland deserves and desperately needs.”

Mohsin also highlighted some of the cultural differences between Pakistan and America, including the practice of Ramadan and how social gatherings in Pakistan differ from those in the U.S. (Pakistani social events do not usually feature men and women interacting).

The dinner took place two days before Mohsin’s birthday and just days after he’d returned from his first trip back home to Pakistan. He will undoubtedly have much more to tell the next time he returns.