Twin ambitions, shared accomplishments and identical next steps

Twin cakes.

What you need to know:

  • Twins have been together since inception and lived together since then, sharing a lot more than the human intellect can fathom.
  • The rarity of it, having a twin, makes the whole experience so much more exciting.

No man is an island, and no one understands this better than a pair of twins. These breeds have been together since inception and lived together since then, sharing a lot more than the human intellect can fathom.

The rarity of it, having a twin, makes the whole experience so much more exciting. This weekend, the world celebrates the siblings who enjoy this unique connection. Three pairs of them share captivating tales of their childhood, growing up, and the perks and downsides of having a twin.

Getrude and Beatrice Mbaya, 21, are both students of sociology at the University of Nairobi

Getrude Mbaya, 21, (left) and her twin sister Beatrice Mbaya pose for a photo along Kimathi street in Nairobi on August 2, 2020. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT

Photo credit: NATION MEDEIA GROUP

Getrude: Betty is a few inches taller than me even though I am the older twin. We do look alike, but I keep telling people that we are like sisters – each of us with distinct features.

It was only when I got to upper primary school that I learnt that Betty is my twin. All along I thought she was just my sister! That realisation really strengthened the bonds between us.

Many, including our father, still can’t tell us apart. We usually have so much fun asking our acquaintances to identify either of us by name, and then watch them fail so miserably.

Growing up together was really fascinating. It still is. We often wore matching clothes, shoes and accessories, ate the same food, went to the same school, played the same games and had similar interests and hobbies. However, we soon realised that we have different personalities.

When we were younger, we hated being stared at on the streets and being referred to as “the twins”, but later it became fun. It is interesting that in everything I do, I have to think of her. Her joys are mine, and her sorrows too. We always make sacrifices for each other.

While my sister believes in taking each day at a time, she sometimes gets worried over small issues, especially if she feels that we are drifting apart.

We have always been together since childhood. The only time we lived apart was when we went to different secondary schools, but we reunited in university where we are pursuing the same course.

Apart from being my sister, Betty is my best friend. We argue, laugh, cry, hug and talk to each other often.

Our most embarrassing day was when we were about to board a matatu and one of the touts realised that we looked alike. He notified his colleagues and all the passengers of this fact and drew so much attention on us. He almost caused a scene!

Beatrice:

I never found out how long I took before following my sister out of the womb. I am slightly taller than her and chubbier, so some people think I am the older one.

Whenever we have a fight, we end up resolving the dispute so quickly because we can hardly hold grudges against each other, and we can't really stay apart when we are at home.

We tell each other everything, especially about new love interests. We share more than a sisterly bond. Whenever I am close to Getrude, I feel like I’m engulfed by so much calmness and peace. It is inexplicable.

Growing up, I enjoyed wearing clothes that matched hers and watching our neighbours get our names wrong. Apart from dancing, my sister and I also play badminton together and try out new recipes during our free time.

I really admire her go-getter attitude. She never settles for less. She’s always so brutally honest with me, which is another reason why she is my confidant.

In primary school, she often got higher marks, save for a few rare occasions when I would beat her in exams. To this moment, it baffles me how similar we are even on the small things. We have the same skin tone and we prefer the same colours, clothes and hair styles. That is so cool!

Phillip Odhiambo, 31 is a film maker while David Amollo is a communication specialist

Phillip Odhiambo, Agunda, 31, a film Maker/animator and David Amollo Odhiambo, a communication specialist are fraternal twins. PHOTO| POOL

David: I am the younger one, born exactly five minutes after Phillip. I guess we are of the same height, and my friends say that we look alike. It never occurred to me that were twins until I was 13 years old. When my mother broke the news, I went into denial, and then I experienced a flood of overwhelming love for Philip.

My brother is an aggressive, young, hardworking man with a determined attitude. He can also be a bully, because he knows how to make things go his way. We run a business together, and he is the one in charge of spotting new opportunities and interacting with clients. Mine is to make sure the client gets exactly what he or she desires.

Having a twin brother feels great. It is so comforting to know that there is someone who will always have my back. Once, in the course of our work, I took photos in a restricted area, and was subsequently arrested. That day, Philip came to the police station and refused to leave, prompting the officer in charge to bring him into the holding cells where we both spent the night.

We both love travelling, and we go on excursions sometimes as part of an assignment, or just to have fun. While at it, we dance and reminisce about our childhood days when we would constantly engage in fisticuffs and get scolded by our mother.

We lived together throughout our childhood, but that changed when we joined secondary school. In university, Philip studied tourism management and later specialised in strategic management while I studied computer science and later acquired a Master's degree in business administration.

It is after we completed our studies that we co-founded Estudio Camouflage, a company that offers photography, videography, and advertising services at a fee.

Phillip:

It is so good to have a twin brother to walk with through life. Growing up together was awesome. We fought often, but everything would be resolved within no time.

I never knew I had a twin until my mother explained what that meant when we got to Grade Seven. I really loved sharing clothes and toys with him, and wearing the same type of shoes just so we could see whose pair would wear out faster.

David is ever jovial and makes jokes easily.  We do a lot together, such as watching football. He is a diehard supporter of Manchester City while I am an ardent fan of Barcelona.

Sometimes people fail to tell us apart. I’m told it is worse during phone conversations because apparently, we sound just the same. Other times, his clients come to me and start going on about a certain business deal, thinking I am David. Whenever this happens, I pretend that I am him, handle the client, then brief him later on.

We went to the same primary school, but afterwards he was admitted to Kabarak High School while I joined Maranda High School. He always got better grades in school than me.

It is long since we wore matching outfits, and I really miss that.

Now that we work together, I have come to know my brother in a different way. He is a dedicated, award winning photographer and he encourages me to work hard.

We talk to each other about everything, but each of us has their private lives. We meet at least once every week, mostly on Mondays, to talk about the business or just to check up on each other.

Anthony Kipruto and Mercy Jerono, 19 are waiting to join university

Mercy Jerono 19, and his twin brother Anthony Kipruto at Kapkwang Baringo on July 18, 2020. PHOTO| SILA KIPLAGAT

Photo credit: NATION MEDIA GROUP

Anthony:

I am the older one and we are of different sexes, so nobody has ever really mistaken me for her.

Having a twin feels normal to me, only that it is so much fun. Having someone with whom you can share everything is so exciting!

Growing up with my sister was fun because she was so mischievous. Whenever we would be put down to take an afternoon nap, she would wake me up after our mom has left the room and come up with a plan on how we would escape and go to play with other children.

Guess who always got blamed when mom found out? Me! She would say that I woke her up and orchestrated the whole plan.

She also liked paying with my toys. She wanted my cars, not her dolls and kitchen kits. To please her, I always shared my belongings with her.

During our free time, we play badminton together or go for hikes, but dancing is our favourite hobby.

We are almost always together and whenever we can’t be close, we spend a lot of time talking on the phone.

I often protect her when she gets into trouble, but I keep wondering why I have to bribe her to wash my clothes.

We schooled together in primary school where I always scored higher marks. But somehow, when we went to different secondary schools, she started getting better grades than me.

Strange things happen to us sometimes. For example, there are many times when we have gone shopping in different places and come back with items of the same colour or clothes of the same fabric. This is enough confirmation that we share some sort of telepathy.

I like how positively my sister looks at life. We share a lot and tell each other all our secrets, some which even our parents don’t know about.

Mercy:

My brother is older than me by one hour. I like calling him Bunde.

I don't really remember at what point I learnt that he was my twin, but I remember us constantly fighting for our parents’ attention.

When we were younger, we played together, bathed together and fought for the television remote in a truly spectacular way. And, of course, we competed against each other while in school because our parents always rewarded the best performer.

We do a lot of fun things together. For example, I once asked him to pose as my boyfriend just so I could put away a nagging boyfriend. Later that evening, we couldn’t stop laughing at how weird the whole thing was.

When I was younger, I couldn’t stay away from my brother. Some days I would find him and start walking next to him, much to the chagrin of his friends. I realised that this made him uncomfortable, but I didn’t stop until one day his friends told me to go hang out with my fellow ladies, and that really hurt.

I pray that I give birth to twins someday, just so I can know how it feels to raise a pair. My mom tells me it was immeasurably delightful.

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