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Seeing triple: The amazing world of triplets

By | April 25th 2010 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

By Nanjinia Wamuswa

When the three young women enter a place, everyone stops to look at them with excitement. Some people rush to pose for pictures with them; others run away thinking they have seen ‘ghosts’.

Catherine Wanjiku, Mary Muthoni and Evaline Wanjiru are triplets. They look so much alike that people find it difficult to differentiate them. Surprisingly, even their mother Teresa Wangari had a hard time identifying each of them. When they were born in November 1990, the midwife showed their mother the baby that came first but she later got confused and lost their order of birth.

The triplets love each other’s company, sing gospel music, dress the same and are generally of the same size.

The triplets like dressing alike. The three young women delight in looking and dressing alike, which makes it impossible to identify them individually.

 The triplets pose for a picture with admirers. Apart from taking photos with people they don’t know, they also deal with curious people who stop them in the streets to ask questions.

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That is why they receive many favours but also scare the superstitious.

"Sometimes matatu conductors just smile at us instead of asking for fare. When we offer to pay thinking they might have forgotten, they decline saying it is a free ride for us," says Wanjiku.

It’s the same with private vehicle drivers who offer them free rides. Some people invite them for meals. And there are those who offer them money and gifts as well as inviting them to just chat them up. They accept some offers but politely decline others.

The triplets go out of their way to calm those who think they have seen ghosts or djinns when they come face to face with the three young women.

Dashed out

A few months ago, they entered a matatu and found a lone woman passenger. The woman looked at them for long, then dashed out.

Having encountered such reactions before, they knew exactly what to do.

They followed her to explain that they were not ghosts. When she realised they were behind her, she started walking faster and nearly fell down.

Only when the sisters told her they were triplets did she get the courage to board the matatu again.

She said: "I was scared after seeing three of you looking the same. I’ve never seen such a thing in my life."

In another incident one of them was sent to hire a taxi to take them home. But when the driver saw the other two, he got scared, reversed and took off without a word.

They laugh over such incidences.

Over time, they have learnt not to be annoyed. There are more people who treat them as celebrities than those who fear them.

It has been like that since childhood. For the eight years they were at Lang’ata Complex, a primary school in Githurai, Nairobi, neither teachers nor pupils could easily identify Mary, Eva and Kate as they were known.

They used any of the three names to call any of them. The triplets knew it was pointless to correct them and just responded.

After leaving primary in 2004, they joined Banana Hill Girls’ High School the following year and two of them were put in the same stream while one joined a different one.

They had also learnt to use their identity to have a good laugh.

They’d exchange their sitting positions without teachers or classmates realising it.

Because of their uniqueness, students in high school decided to refer to them as ‘MaryEvaKate’, a name each of them was called and accepted.

Receiving gifts

In high school, they had a great time, receiving gifts from their teachers who also often invited them to dine with the teachers. They also dined with visitors touring the school.

Fellow students were so much used to them that it was boring if they missed school. They would keep asking about the triplets’ whereabouts.

‘MaryEvaKate’ recall a time they didn’t go to school for some time because of lack of fees. They reported during class time and students stormed out of classes jumping and shouting.

It was fun during sports too. They played basketball and during tournaments, they gave the referee a hard time identifying who had scored or caused a foul to be penalised.

But they still enjoy their ‘celeb’ status even after completing Form Four last year. Apart from teachers and students calling them often to find out how they are faring, many more people, especially in towns, stop them to ask questions. They ask about how they all manage to date boys, whether they are triplets, if their mother is proud and where they come from, among others. Many request to take group photographs with them.

Are crowd pullers

Sometimes, they are surprised when shown their photos taken several years ago at different places by people they don’t know.

The triplets are yet to enter the dating scene but they foresee men getting problems with them due to their resemblance.

"It would be hard for them since we walk as a group all the time," they say.

They are amused when some people tell them that if a man wants to marry one of them he has to take all of them.

Since the triplets are crowd pullers, some people are already planning to have them on board as a campaign tool for the 2012 Elections. For sure, they know ‘MaryEvaKate’ will draw crowds to the rally venues.

Their gospel hip-hop band, Amazing Group, is likely to add spice to the campaign.

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