Meet Blind Soldier Who Returned to KDF Despite Losing Sight

  • Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldiers inspect the security fencing at the Kenya-Somali border on February 21, 2017
    Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldiers inspect the security fencing at the Kenya-Somali border on February 21, 2017
    Daily Nation
  • For Senior Private Nderitu, joining the military was a dream and one of the best things that happened to him, until he lost his sight in a fight against Al-Shabaab insurgents.

    Having joined the military in 2008, he served in various stations and capacities, but it was when he was sent on a mission in Badhere region of Somalia, in May 2017, that his life took an unexpected twist.

    For a man who had tasted combat in very threatening situations alongside his colleagues, this was supposed to be another day in the office, but it was not.

    According to KDF's 2019 issue of the Majeshi Yetu magazine, Al Shabaab insurgents attacked Nderitu's camp, shelling the place with mortars and causing the death of two soldiers.

    KDF soldiers during one of their missions in Somalia.
    KDF soldiers during one of their missions in Somalia.
    File

    This war cost two of his friends their lives, and by the time the dust had died down, Nderitu had no clue that he had lost his sight.

    According to the publication, Nderitu was airlifted to Wilson Airport and transferred to Defence Forces Memorial Hospital (DFMH) for treatment where he went through the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) to remove shell fragments from his eyes.

    "During all this time, not once did I think that I could be blind. I had no clue. I just thought my eyes had been covered. I could hear voices but all around me was darkness.

    “My right eye was completely removed. What is on my face right now is a prosthesis. My left eye had a fragment and later on, the doctor informed me that it was not salvageable," he recalled.

    After the attack, Nderitu became a beneficiary of KDF's welfare program which helped him to transform and adapt to his new situation by enrolling him into a school for the blind where he learned braille, even on a computer.

    Majeshi Yetu informs that the KDF also provided him with a white cane for him and ensured that he had a guide for easy mobility at the Kahawa Garrison where he is based.

    The magazine informs that though Nderitu has completely lost his sight he has served and is ready to serve in whatever capacity his situation will allow.

    The KDF welfare program serves retired personnel by facilitating medical outreach, home visits, counseling and compensation in the case of injury or death.

    Fallen soldiers being commemorated at a plaque set aside for them at kahawa garrisson.
    Fallen soldiers being commemorated at a plaque set aside for them at Kahawa Garrisson.
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