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Family recalls ‘last supper’ with Sharon, Kenyan woman who drowned in Australia



Kimuchi community in Uasin Gishu county was anticipating Sharon Jepkosgei Kigen’s departure from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) on November 21, 2022 for Australia, where she would continue her education.

Nothing had prepared the peaceful village in the Moiben sub-county for the heartbreaking news about their relatives that would come precisely three months later. the fact that their daughter had died.

A distress call would be placed to Kenya on February 21, 2023, precisely three months after Sharon had left Kenya, informing Kenya of Sharon’s untimely death while swimming in a foreign country and informing her family in Moiben.

A send-off party for their daughter, whose international doors had opened, signaling expectations for good things to come in the future, had been held just three months earlier, on November 9, 2022, by the Kimuchi villagers.

Sharon would be leaving for Catholic University in North Sydney for her post-graduate degree after obtaining a position through Options Education, a study placement firm, and family, friends, and neighbors would gather for a mass to send her off.

IT enthusiast Sharon, 28, a graduate of Kapsabet Girls and 2020 IT graduate of Kenyatta University, has won a scholarship for her Master’s degree studies.

Her parents, Francis Kigen and Rael Chepkemboi, had sold a piece of land to help with her travel, living, and some of the study expenses. The proceeds would be added to donations from a fundraiser that had been held to help manage the costs, raising about Sh2.5 million.

The Kigen family’s third-born child would board her flight at JKIA on November 21, 12 days after the special send-off prayers, to chase her dreams thousands of miles away.

She appeared to be in good spirits in a film of her parents and two of her sisters who had traveled with her to Nairobi to bid her farewell. In order to reach at JKIA by 6 am and make it in time for her flight at 8:40 am, they had left their village on the evening of November 20 for an overnight trip.

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She was traveling abroad for the first time since her birth on July 26, 1995, and she was cheerful as usual and carrying hopes for the future.

She had told her friends that she would establish an IT company when she returned home after her two-year studies and that she would assist them and their children.

She had relocated to Australia to live with her family, and she had even found a part-time work.

On February 21, 2023, exactly three months after Sharon had departed from Kenya, a distress call would be made to Kenya, the caller seeking to pass an urgent message to Sharon’s family in Moiben.

The message of Sharon’s demise was relayed through a doctor at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital and a relative to the family: Sharon was dead. She had died while swimming with friends on a beach.

The doctor would locate Sharon’s grandfather- who would then make haste to visit her home, breaking the devastating news to her parents and family.

Digesting the news has not been easy for Sharon’s family – that she died barely three months after she had left Kenya. 

“We are shocked that our daughter is no more,” Mr Kigen, her father, said crestfallen, at their Kimuchi home.

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