Kenyan woman rejected by KDF four times now a Sergeant with US Air Force

When Lupita Nyong’o, the celebrated Hollywood actress, clinched the Oscars, her impassioned message resonated globally: “Never give up, for all dreams are valid.” This sentiment echoed profoundly in the life of Winnie Adipo, whose unwavering determination was to serve in the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF).

Despite facing four unsuccessful attempts to join the KDF, Adipo refused to yield. Her resolve remained unshaken. Today, she stands as a sergeant in the US Air Force, a testament to her perseverance and resilience.

Adipo’s aspiration to serve in the Kenyan military was so profound that she was willing to resort to unethical means, contemplating bribery as a means to secure her entry. Recalling a moment of desperation, she revealed, “I once encountered an individual with government connections demanding a bribe of Ksh200,000, while I had only Sh. 1,000 in my possession.” Fortunately, she chose to pursue another avenue when the opportunity presented itself—the US Air Force.

In 2015, Adipo applied for a Diversity Lottery Visa, commonly known as the Green Card, and relocated to the United States. The following year, she successfully enlisted in the US Air Force, marking the beginning of her remarkable journey.

Reflecting on her path, Adipo acknowledges the challenges she faced as an African woman navigating the military landscape. However, she is grateful for the evolving landscape, citing initiatives like diversity inclusion and leadership programs that have broadened opportunities for individuals like her.

Adipo’s dedication has not gone unnoticed. She currently serves as a Staff Sergeant at the US Air Force pilot training base, a position earned through her unwavering commitment and hard work. Her story stands as a testament to the power of persistence and resilience in the pursuit of one’s dreams, echoing Lupita Nyong’o’s timeless message of hope and perseverance.