Winnie Wanjiru grew up dreaming of becoming a military officer, an ambition triggered by showground visits with her dad where they watched soldiers performing.
While studying at the University of Nairobi, she applied several times to join the Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) in an attempt to fulfill her childhood dream.
Sadly, none of her applications was accepted and she recalls being asked to pay a bribe of Sh200,000 to secure a place in the army.
“I remember at one point I got someone who was really connected to the government and was demanding for Sh200K. Mark you, at that point in time I only had like Sh1,000 with me for pocket money,” Wanjiru told Tuko in a recent interview.
Her dream of joining the military appeared to have been shattered completely until she won a US Green Card in 2015.
Wanjiru had her application to the US Air Force accepted about a year after she won the Green Card and has now served in the military for over four years. She has risen through the ranks and is currently working as Staff Sergeant at the pilot training base.
The mother of one is married to Denise Adipo, who she describes as a pillar in her career.
“Doing life with him has been the most enjoyable journey. I don’t struggle at all with juggling between work and family responsibilities because he helps a lot,” she added.