Alabama State Alumna Joins Peace Corps, Helps Fight HIV and AIDS in Botswana

Kenyatta Spiller in Botswana, Africa
Kenyatta Spiller in Botswana, Africa
Written by Hazel Scott

ASU alumna Kenyatta Shanice Spiller, 26, was at a crossroad in her life, so she jumped off her career path, took a leap of faith and joined the Peace Corps. She is now in Botswana helping HIV/AIDS patients.

“My decision to join Peace Corps Botswana was completely based on my faith in God. After completing my second full-time AmeriCorps service term, I found myself at a crossroad,” Spiller said. “I knew the only way to obtain the unforeseen was to take on the challenge of the unimaginable.”

Spiller is a Civil Society capacity building volunteer in Botswana. When she first arrived there, she lived with a host family to become acclimated to the country’s culture and language. She then was sworn in for a two-year tour of service and assigned to a community in Botswana. ​

She reports to the district AIDS coordinator (DAC) in her village and to HOPE Worldwide Botswana, an international non-government organization. Spiller’s responsibilities include assisting with the coordination of HIV/AIDS programming and helping staff design a database for monitoring and evaluating a system to track HIV/AIDS clientele.

“Both organizations facilitate opportunities to work with people directly and indirectly affected by HIV/AIDS,” Spiller said.

Through her service, Spiller hopes to discover adventures, challenges, and most importantly, to refocus her objectives.

“In addition to fighting Botswana’s HIV/AIDS pandemic, I hope to recalibrate (my) professional goals, enhance my appreciation for Sub-Saharan African culture, and embark on a life-changing international travel experience that redefines my life,” Spiller said.

People who join the Peace Corps usually have different reasons, Spiller said, and often have different histories. So they may view their experiences through different lenses.

“Nothing could have prepared me for this journey. It’s your experience, so you find your own insight,” Spiller said. “But I am so blessed to serve in this beautiful country. I hope I will be invited to extend a third year to work with the United States Agency for International Development.”

You might say Spiller has a passion for service. Prior to joining the Peace Corps she was the Volunteer Coordinator for the Rebuilding Together Central Alabama group, a Montgomery-based affiliate of a national organization that focuses on assisting moderate to low-income homeowners with critical repairs.

Spiller earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from ASU in 2011, and she earned a Master of Science in Urban Studies and Planning from Savannah State University in 2014.

Source: Alabama State University

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