What’s in a Name


She lays at the edge of the pool. Everyone is worried, but she is not, everyone is looking for money, power and food around the world but she is not, she is just there laying enjoying the afternoon sun. Shadows infuriate her, see they make a good basking spot cold and she is confounded. She wakes up, she stretches, am not sure if it is really stretching or if her type stretch at all but she does something with her mouth and feet that looks like stretching or maybe a glare move at my nosy eyes. Foot after the other she moves her large body to another basking point with no shadows and then she lets out a heavy breath like a roar that could mimic the king of the jungle as if saying, he could be the king of the dumb-ass jungle but in here I rule I ran things here. With that she closes her large red eyes and shuts off the world.

Now Kithao is a crocodile, Esther named her that because she claims she is lazy. Kithao is 35 years old and about four meters in length. Her strength is evident in her physical bulk giving the impression of a reptile made of a concrete block and her size directly earns her respect from anyone who comes near. Her formidable presence and menacing demeanor makes her fierceness indispensable. Kithao barely eats or moves, No, she likes her cup of eternal silence and seclusion. Kithao has a sister and brother but she thinks they are not up to his level and she cannot stoop down to their level. So she will not hang out with them, she is too cool for them. So these siblings to her are dead.

Esther is devastated at Kithao’s immobile state who behaves as if she is unconscious. Esther is a photographer, she wants action, perhaps to see Kithao dance, dougie or do some push-ups but her immobile state upsets her. She must be saying in her mind;

Change pose Kithao, give me sexy *click*
Now give me wild *click* *click* Give me Fun *click* *click* *click*

And then she will take a break, look at the shots, notice bad lighting or something wrong with Kithao’s foot and they will have to repeat ‘sexy’ and ‘fun’. But not Kithao, No, Kithao is sleeping unperturbed but unable to ignore our intrusive presence opens her eyes and bores them into Trica standing at the edge of the fence now showing the anger growing inside him. Trica steps a few steps back, she knows better than to upset Kithao. Kithao sleeps on.

Has anyone of you been to a museum? I had not till last weekend. Do you know how freaking fun it is to go to a museum? I did not, now I do. You should all go see some bones, dinosaurs and homo erectus. If you are lucky like us you get to see a porcupine which looks like a rabbit with thorns, and a tortoise which looks like a skinny hairless cat with a back-pack.


Thuguma-Nyeri National Museum is specially focused on the Agikuyu culture. You get to see Gikuyu and her ten daughters with funny names each signifying the characters of the large Gikuyu tribe. What is in a name? Well, I was checking out my ex-girlfriends names and happen to see what Wangari means, email me if you want to know before I write here and get killed on my way home and you read the papers, obituary section next week:

We are sad to announce the death of Dennis Peters, an example of what visiting a museum can do to you.

Meanwhile, our guide pokes Kithao with a plastic pipe to ease the photographers’ disappointment and Kithao with only one move snaps the pipe into pieces with his saw-shaped teeth. He has no regrets for this.

This is what I would do to your arm if I caught you.

Kithao bellows and we oblige and leave her to her sleep. Baffling!

Our guide tells us that Kithao feeds only once a week which is usually five kilograms of meat. It is such a hustle to feed a four meter reptile, you pin a chunk of mutton or beef on a long stick then bring it close to her. If it sunny, Kithao will eat, if it is not, Kithao will suggest you keep your damn food to yourself. If she decides to eat, she will grab the chunk from the stick and run away with it inside the pool, water helps her swallow since she has no tongue, our guide explains.

To demonstrate the level of Kithao’s desire to be left alone our guide shows us what she had done to her thirteen year old brother’s foot! Damn Kithao! She ate her brother’s foot off! Now, the poor guy limps as he walks, he lays in the sun too but he knows better than to hang around Kithao. So in his teenage life she knows how it is to get into an argument with an older sibling and loose an arm for fun and games. I am sure he compares his tail with Kithao’s sometimes and he must think bitterly of vengeance when he grows up. Sibling wrangles are more sentimental than harmful physically. I have ever fought with Kate Njenga once, Aye, Kate do I tell? Anyway, long story short I got a serious ass whooping because I do not hit girls.

Kithao’s tail is the size is roughly my height. Sometimes on a happy day or furious one, she splashes water in the pool with her tail and she must enjoy watching the Kithao-made tsunami. Our guide tells us that Kithao could be around for sixty five more years so she still young. Then she could be up to six meters long. Esther says she will keep tabs for the next sixty five years see if they can be friends at some point. I too would like to see Kithao often at least until her brother decides it was time for tat and strangles her to death. I would like to watch that happen too and I will definitely write about it.

As the sun drops and the evening shadows get longer, it is time to leave and we reluctantly bid the new addition to our family goodbye. The sun is golden as if a covenant of the loyalty we had made with Kithao’s family. The photographers get the ball rolling to chase the sunset at the other side of town.

There are tough jobs in this world but photography is definitely the most astounding. The sunset is startling so you choose a better location to shoot it, you get there it is cloudy. Another instance you visit somewhere you are not entirely certain of the location and get lost severally before you find your way then get late and public transport runs out. To be a photographer you live your life on the edge and every living condition is acceptable, even sleeping on trees but I am grateful every time I get a chance to work with these amazing people.

Esther Mukiri (On Instagram)
Trica Ciku (On Instagram)
Patrick Ambani Munyata (On Instagram)

*Kithao is a Meru word if you find out what it means please leave a comment. Thank you.

Selfish and eccentric though they conceal a lot. They are known to be reliable promise keepers.
Matiririe wira nduma ciatukanga

Photos from my Nokia Lumia, yeah I know they ain’t too good don’t rub it in.

The Writer

Dennis Peters

Dennis Peters

2 thoughts on “What’s in a Name

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