Motivational speaker David Etale, who once played for Tusker FC and KCB FC before joining the British Army, spoke to Kiss FM about losing his leg in a war zone and how it nearly drove him to suicide.
Speaking to Adelle Onyango and Shaffie Weru, he explained how he got accepted to serve in the British Army.
He said, “There’s a friend of mine who approached me and told me he doesn’t like what I’m doing. He told me his cousin joined the army online. So I went online and applied and I got accepted really quick because at that time the British Army needed so many people because of the engagement they were having all over the place.”
After he was accepted, he flew to London and the experience was totally different, starting with the weather, because it was really cold. But that did not stop him because he thought about what he really wants and what’s best for him.
“I started training and the training takes six months. After that, you get deployed to your battalion, and if they are on deployment, you’re sent to where they are. So I was sent to Afghanistan. During the four months being out there, Afghanistan was really bad. We had so many armies out there. So we went for a meeting one day, we call it a briefing and the area we were going the next day was pretty hostile. That night I couldn’t sleep, so I woke up at 3 am, got my Bible and read. It got to 6 am and one of my friends asked me if I saw myself in this place having played for two of the best teams, and I told him no. So the whole day was quiet until about six in the evening, and that’s when we got ambushed by the Taliban,” he said.
At that time, they didn’t know what to do, and that’s when the US army came in with their jets to help move them from the war zone.
“When everything started, we had a firefight for like two hours. The American army sent jets to help extract us from the area. So when we were extracting, my boss told me we need to go because I was carrying the captain and the gunner. Fifty meters from the place we left, I drove over an IED, which was a double chain bomb. After that I can’t remember what happened because I found myself in the UK.”
The surgeons did all they could to save his leg but he had sustained a severe injury and so they had to get rid of the leg to save him.
“I had broken my two collar bones and after some time, they couldn’t keep my leg because I had eight to twelve surgeries. So they told me the best way is to get rid of the leg.”
Life was not easy for him, and he at some point twice attempted to commit suicide. But that didn’t happen, as he chose to use his experience to inspire people going through so much in life.
By TRACY MUTINDA (www.the-star.co.ke)