What you need to know:
- Distraught Msambweni mason says the twin sons were his greatest hope.
- Fishermen rescued a cousin who was with Macharia and Gichuhi.
Two days to their 19th birthday, Kennedy Gichuhi and Solomon Macharia were excited after reuniting, and to celebrate, they went to the beach in Gasi, Kwale County. It would be their last day on earth.
And just as they came together into the world, so did they leave it – together, holding hands. The twins, who drowned while swimming on Monday, had spent almost every moment of their lives together.
When their bodies were found, one was floating, the other was submerged, their hands tightly clasped, said the divers in the search team.
Macharia and Gichuhi were born on June 2, 2002, in Ol Kalou, the seventh and eighth-born among 10 children.
"I did not know they would be twins. So it surprised us, but we were happy," their father, Samuel Njuguna, 60 -- a renowned mason in Msambweni -- told the Nation.
They were always together, said their father. When one got sick, the other one would, too, and they would get admitted to hospital together.
They went to Ngorika Primary School, where they attended the same class, passed their primary school exam with almost similar marks and were called to Ngorika Secondary School.
"They loved each other and never wanted to be separated. They would also defend each other, especially when one had made a mistake," Mr Njuguna narrated.
In secondary school, they slept in the same dormitory, but in class, they were in different streams. The twins scored C+ (Macharia) and C (Gichuhi) in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education exam.
Macharia dreamed of being a pilot, and Gichuhi, a doctor. However, since their grades could not allow them to pursue the careers they wished, they were preparing to select what courses to take at the university before they met their death.
That morning they spent the day on the farm with They were supposed to water vegetables but decided to take a break to let the sun go down first.
"Their mother had just made food for us. We ate, then they insisted they wanted to go to the beach. She refused at first, but later let them go. I wish I knew that I was seeing them for the last time," said the father.
On Monday, May 31, the family was thrown into confusion when evening came and they were told the twins, who had gone to swim, were missing and may have drowned.
The father rushed to the beach, a 10-minutes’ walk away.
Locals think the boys drowned because they were not familiar with the beach. They went to swim in a bay, which was later inundated by water when the tide was high, trapping them.
Their cousin, Edwin Kamau, 16, managed to get to safer ground near mangroves, from where he was rescued by fishermen. He is now recuperating at Kinondo hospital.
"I could not believe it. We stayed at the beach looking for them but it was getting late and night fell. I was not born here, so the locals took the initiative to help with the search as I watched," the distraught father said.
The recovery was halted after the high tide came in and they continued the search in the morning.
At their home in Gasi on Tuesday, their elder sister Judy Wangari, regretted that she has to spend their birthday mourning them.
"We loved joking. The previous day, I had asked Gichuhi to hug me, but he refused. I wish I knew that was the last time I'd be seeing them. I am yet to believe this," said a teary Ms Wanjiru.
They were excited about their birthday – the day after Madaraka Day.
“They were my only hope. Having worked hard as a mason to bring them up, I knew they would take care of me in future. I am shattered,” said the grieving father.
The family has started the burial arrangements. The bodies will be taken from Kwale Hospital mortuary to Ngorika village, where they will buried on Tuesday next week.