Neil Rockwell:  

Neil Rockwell's Classmates® Profile Photo
Washington, IL
Bloomington, IN
Glen ellyn, IL
Glen ellyn, IL
Lincoln, IL

Neil's Story

Life Hello all, In December, 2006, I applied to become a Peace Corps volunteer. Since then, I've completed a multi-step application process of interviews, doctors' appointments and background checks. Last month I received an invitation to serve as a volunteer in Guinea, Africa. I accepted the invitation and will depart in December, 2007. I will serve 27 months in Guinea. This includes three months of training in country, and two years of service as an SED (small enterprise development) advisor. French is the primary language and will take up a major portion of the three month training. My primary duties in the field will be designing and implementing training activities for small business owners. I will train entrepreneurs and business groups to use basic business skills, such as accounting and marketing. Concerning living conditions, the country has a coastal band, high mountains, and large forests. The climate is tropical with dry and wet seasons. The main diet is rice, sometimes with dried meat. If I am located in a city, I may or may not have electricity and running water. If I am located in a village, I will likely not have access to these. Previous volunteers often state that the Guinea landscape makes it one of the most beautiful countries in Africa. I am grateful for the opportunity to represent my country. A few years ago when first considering Peace Corps service, I was excited about a great adventure in a foreign land. Now, mainl...Expand for more
y, I have a sober sense of responsibility to those I will serve. Hopefully, my service will empower people to grow and sustain their businesses, thereby improving their quality of life...for years after I am gone. Other than that...In the last year and a half, I've been fortunate to travel to Mississippi with Habitat for Humanity to build houses for victims of hurricane Katrina. This summer "for fun" I participated as a crew member in RAAM (Race Across AMerica), a bicycle race from Oceanside, CA to Atlantic City, NJ. There are several individual and team categories, but virtually all finish the race in seven to twelve days. Our RAAM team consisted of four riders and six crew. The riders took turns; at least one person was on the bike 24 hours a day. I drove a support van and watched these guys ride through desert, up and down mountains, over the Mississippi river and out to the New Jersey coast. Our team completed the race in seven days and 15 hours. Even though I witnessed this feat, it is still hard to comprehend that some one can ride a bicycle across the country in a week. ...Do I recommend this to any one? No, the sleep deprivation was horrible. However, I'm really glad I did it, and will always enjoy the memories. That is about it for now. To those I have known and to any one reading, I hope that life turned out better than you planned, that you are happy and fulfilled, and that your life is getting better everyday. Best wishes, Neil
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