A tiny village in Likuyani, Kakamega County, is grappling with a big puzzle of two identical girls who claim they were separated at birth in 1999.
Sharon Mathias and Melon Lutenyo reunited on Tuesday, nearly 20 years later, at Furfural village in an emotional meeting that has set tongues wagging.
But as they shed tears of joy, their families were plunged into a dilemma and are now seeking answers over the unusual occurrence.
Rosemary Onyango, who has been raising Melon, believes Sharon, who was raised in Kangemi Nairobi, is also her biological daughter.
“I gave birth to two children on August 15, 1999 at the former Kakamega General Hospital (now Kakamega County Referral Hospital) when my pregnancy was eight and half months,” she said.
“Before that, all the doctors who were attending to me used to tell me that I will give birth to twins.”
Just two days earlier, on August 13, 1999, another woman, Angeline Omina, had been at the same hospital where she gave birth to a baby girl.
That girl was named Sharon.
Due to some complications after birth, one of the babies Rosemary delivered was taken to nursery after she developed a lump on the neck.
That little angel was Mevis Imbayi.
A week later, she was discharged and started raising her girls at her Furfural home.
“I was told that I had given birth to two girls and I was happy since I already had four big boys. I have been living with the two (Mevis and Melon) since then,” she narrated.
Since then, the family of Richard Lukoa has been raising Mevis and Melon at their home in Likuyani, Matunda, Kakamega County, whereas Sharon has been staying with her parents in Kangemi, Nairobi.
Sharon and Melon grew up without knowing about each other’s existence but things changed when they joined high school.
Currently, Melon and Sharon are Form Four candidates at Kongoni Secondary School and Shikoti Girls High School, respectively, in Kakamega County.
One day, Melon’s friends who school at Sharon’s school came and informed her of a girl who appeared like her "carbon copy".
Curious, Melon logged on Facebook and she was shown Sharon’s account.
She was stunned.
She sent a friend request, which was accepted, and the two look-alike strangers started chatting.
“It was until our schoolmates and teachers raised concern over our resemblance that we were forced to get acquainted even though we were hesitant,” explained Melon.
During their interactions in social media, the two said they used to dis each other after they noticed that their photos appeared similar.
“It got to a point where I could refer to Sharon as a 'ghost' while she used to call me a 'devil' because it was unbelievable that were shared a lot of similarities,” said Melon.
According to Sharon, despite having a desire to meet Melon, she got suspicious and annoyed, "prompting me to refer to her as a devil”.
“There is this day that I met Melon’s father who referred to me as his daughter but I could hear none of it since he was a total stranger to me,” she recalled.
“I had to rush and board a vehicle before he could cause a scene.”
Sharon’s sentiments were confirmed by Melon’s father, Mr Lukoa, who said he first met her in December 2018 at the Kitale stage in Kakamega town.
“When I saw her I thought it was my daughter who had come to visit me. When I called out her name she did not answer me back,” said the father of six.
“This prompted me to call my wife and tell her that our daughter had rejected me. I had a lengthy argument with my wife to an extent that I deleted her number from my phone. I was later told that it was not Melon but a student from Shikoti Girls who resembles my daughter.”
Since they learned of each other’s existence, the two girls said they have never had peace of mind.
In April, Melon decided to make one of her longest journeys to the capital Nairobi as she sought to unravel the puzzle of Sharon.
In the company of Mevis, she met Sharon at the beginning of April holidays.
“We had a successful trip to Nairobi where we managed to meet Sharon and her mother at their home in Kangemi,” she said.
“During our meeting, we hugged tightly perhaps a clear indication that there was a strong bond between us.”
The two girls embarked on the long travel without the permission and knowledge of their father.
“We did not inform our father because we knew so well that he would decline (to grant us permission). We pushed our mother till she let us go. It is by God’s grace that we are back with Sharon today enjoying every moment together,” said Melon.
The triplets are now demanding to be subjected to a DNA test to ascertain their identities.
However, they have made one vow: They will not part ways "whatever the outcome".
“We are so fond of each other that whatever way that the DNA might go, we shall always be together because ours is a beautiful story,” said Mevis, who schools at Kimosong' Girls High School in Trans-Nzoia.