Kenya: KDF Soldier Makes Emotional Return Home From Somalia

2 November 2019

A Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldier on Saturday made surprise visit to his family in Lanet, Nakuru, from Somalia where he has been serving in the African Union Mission in Somalia.

Mr Joseph Aringo, 33, who left the country in January, unexpectedly showed up at his Lanet home on the outskirts of Nakuru town. The soldier was received by his wife, sister in law and his three children.

But the surprise home coming was well planned and executed with military precision. Mr Nicky Omolo, a close family friend, informed Mr Aringo's family that they would be having a special guest.

The family did not know that Mr Aringo had communicated with Mr Omolo about his visit. Not even Mr Omolo's wife Judy Achieng' knew the special guest they were expecting.

"It was one of my biggest surprises," said Ms Achieng'.

SPECIAL GUEST

Mr Aringo's wife Pauline Awuor was lost for word.

"I least expected the guest to be my husband, I knew he was in Somalia. He had not informed me that he would be coming, I missed him. Taking care of the children alone in his absence has not been easy, I thank God for keeping him safe," said Ms Awuor.

She added: "When I saw him in the living room I screamed, I thought I was dreaming, it is nice to see him safe."

Mr Aringo's sister-in -law Becky described the reunion as the best surprise of her life.

Their second born son Michael Sheaitiel, 7, who aspires to be a soldier like his father said: "When my dad removed his dark glasses I could not believe it was him."

Mr Aringo, who was overjoyed to surprise his family, is glad to be back home and spend time with them.

The soldier, who is a born again Christian and a pastor at Kings Outreach Church, is on a two-week vacation.

DODGING BULLETS

"It's just something I thought of while in a trench. My heart was longing to come back home. You don't get this moment many times. Nothing is sweeter than seeing a solider reunited with his family after dodging bullets and bombs in Somalia," said Mr Aringo.

He added: "I wanted to surprise them in a way they will never forget, you never know when you will be back home from the battle field."

"If there is anybody who has kept me going in Somalia it is my family. They suffer the most while I am on the battle zone. They are my driving force, when I speak to them, I feel rejuvenated."

Mr Aringo is among thousands of KDF soldiers who have put their lives on the line to stamp out the Al Shabaab militants-fuelled terrorism in Somalia. The Kenyan troops moved into Somalia in 2011.

Mr Aringo has been communicating with his family via social media platforms.

After settling down, Mr Aringo narrated stories of love, sacrifice and lessons he has picked so far in the battle front.

PEACE

"Many people take peace in Kenya for granted but rarely do they know what it costs to have that peace, I learnt the value of peace in Kenya. In Somalia, movement is restricted," he said.

"I have learnt so much about family and brotherhood. When in the battle front, you never know whether you will come back alive."

"You sacrifice your family and that is the greatest sacrifice a soldier can ever do for this country," said Mr Aringo.

But amidst all the dangers, Mr Aringo said the KDF soldiers also have happy moments as they hold birthday parties.

"We are constantly alert round the clock, but we also create exciting moments. We have talented soldiers who make us laugh even in tough times," he said.

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