What’s in a Name

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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.

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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.

Wangari:
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

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The Falling Waters of River Chania. Part Two.

Continued from: On the Falling Waters of River Chania. Part One. (Read Here)

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A Piece of Sheet

A reader pressed forward a concern that Zaina Falls is on Zaina River not Chania River because the two rivers merge shortly after the beautiful water fall which took us back to Chania River for the second time. Perhaps to inquire about the variability of the concern or simply to experience the looming beauty across the green land that looks like an alien mirage, an aberration in the heart of the vast desolated stretches of the cold brilliant countryside. Either one of these reasons, the second trip was nothing like the first one and neither was it any short of splendid.

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There are many techniques to slay a rat, for one you could necklace the little nigga until he stops breathing or solely smash its head against the wall. Both ways are effective. This time traveling to Zaina Falls we emerge on the top of the fall which is brilliant glistening in the brilliant sunlight as if in a completion who shines the brightest. Am in the company of a small entourage of photographers from Nyeri and Nairobi. A rendezvous between the two groups on a photo hunt, do not ask me, I barely understand how these photographers think.

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It is on this venture that our tour guide happens to take us to a cave which he describes was used by the freedom fighters in the 1950s as shelter. One look at the cave and a nervous tension sours my stomach bringing in an unfamiliar tightness to my chest. Memories flood my head of Grandma narrating the Mau Mau war for liberation.
Who has slept in this cave? Did he die? Was he gunned down ingloriously by the white man? Did he whine in pain in this cave trying to heal his wound with ineffective leaves? Did Dedan Kimathi crush here on his way to revolt against the white man in the guerrilla warfare?
Esther snaps me from this delirium by shoving a metallic piece of sheet on the floor. Almost instantly our tour guide begins explaining that the sheet belonged to a land rover from a white man’s vehicle. Trica is obsessed about taking souvenirs from each trip but the guide quickly retorts that other tourists needed to see it too.

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My grandma fought the war against the colonial government. Then she used to reside in Muranga deep into the uncharted country. When she talks about it, her face is impassive maybe because she has learnt to purge herself of pain as she mentions big fallen names in what she refers to as a nightmare. Clearly she used to be a very attractive young girl back then and it makes me wonder how many boyfriends she lost to the war as she sits on her favorite seat in the kitchen in sullen silence probably wise words bubbling in her head. And then she warns,

We lost a lot in that war, hearts were broken and investments annihilated but we survived. Make sure you don’t bring me a white wife I won’t let her get into my compound, not again.

I laugh about this, I do not think I would ever fall for a white girl hahaha, maybe my sibling sisters, definitely not Kate Njenga maybe the tiny one Viona but she is only ten so it is still difficult to tell.

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I stare at this piece of sheet with surprised mellowness.
Was the owner of this Land rover a good or a bad person? Where did he get gas in such a forest?

Smiling wryly, I glance at the cave one last time. A bedsitter in curved rock with a kitchen, a bedroom and lobby. Rest in peace warriors.

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We make our way down the waterfall with camera clicks everywhere, a flower click, my muddy shoes click, a butterfly click, sunset click. I wish I could learn to be as precise as photographers. At the foot of the waterfall, am left to my thoughts alone not even the ever cheerful, adventurous Esther is free to poke for my own amusement. And the waterfall makes the gushing deafening splash each like the previous one and this water language contains words like tendrils that drives me further into thought and like always when emotions cloud my mind I begin writing this poem…

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Feet Steady

Not much has been said

Just a glitter in her amber eyes

That reflects her golden heart

Beauty as brilliant as dew in glittering sun

(Read More…)

And then the water begins to move away from the waterfall in silent whispers talking about the thrilling experience carrying with it dry leaves and sticks as souvenirs. The water meets my bare feet seated on a rock and the cool wave makes my spine shiver perhaps with ineffable anticipation and past my feet continues with its timeless ritual of eternal silence and seclusion and am awed!

The Falling Waters of River Chania.
Photographers on Instagram:
1.Gathigestest
2.Joe Kim
3.Esther Mukiri
4.Trica Ciku
5.Navarone
6.Rey Matata
7.Mulwa
8.Neema-Jodie
9.Nimu Isabel
10.Isaac Mwendwa
11.Jared G Maina
12.Patrick Ambani Munyata

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A letter to dennispetersblog crew…

Now, guys I got to attend BAKE blog awards during the weekend at Intercontinental Hotel Nairobi courtesy of BAKE DeKUT. This letter is not to brag however but gratitude to you all for where we have come from, for sharing my links, for clicking on my site and for your comments and criticism. dennispetersblog represents a symbol of all achievable dreams in modelling, writing, poetry, photography, music, travel, relationships, studies, self-employment, happiness, adventure only to mention a few. Join me on this journey and one by one we achieve these dreams one by one and toast each weekend to our wins as we celebrate one year anniversary of its birth. Thank you.

The Writer:

Dennis Peters

Dennis Peters

Dennis Peters.

The Falling Waters of River Chania

Zaina Falls along Chania River

Zaina Falls along Chania River

I can barely explain what exactly it is about Central Province countryside but I think I will be in Nyeri for a very long time. Now, if you have been dennispetersblog since day one then you know I was never a small town kind of person but you do not know until you try it out. This year marks two years in Nyeri and been here, visiting places, River Chania, River Sagana, Mt Kenya (Read Here), Aberdare Ranges amongst others just puts me in an expansive mood. The country side especially, not to stay, just to visit like last weekend…

From Right Ambani, Esther and Me.

From Right Ambani, Esther and Me.

Now the Bloggers Association of Kenya BAKE DeKUT have engaged young talents in fields such as photography, art and music in collaboration with Zawadi Society. There is a platform for BAKE members to learn directly from professionals in what our chairman, Denis Mwangi (Denis with single ‘N’. He is very particular about that) likes to call ‘externship’ you can check it all out on his blog Creative Connekt (Click Here)

So today its photography. My group is made up of three people the lead photographer and professional Mr Partrick Ambani Munyata (View on Instagram), Esther and me. You must remember Esther from Mt. Kenya, pretty, graceful and very adventurous. No doubt you remember her now, so she is the extern and I am the writer. My work is to observe and make a story and I know you would all love my work. There is a sudden unearthly beauty about Esther holding a camera but well my job is to observe so that’s exactly what am going to be doing for the next few hours.

After an arduous journey that leads to Zaina Falls along Chania River deep into the interior we unpack our bags and set up our photography gear, clicking begins almost immediately but that is boring for me so I first go for a swim in my boxers but that is a story for another day. The water is cold as ice and the large falls makes a deafening sound as the water lands down below, apart from that the place is desolated and as quite as a tomb besides the occasionally chirping birds. The countryside is wild and beautiful, caressed by the soft fragrance of March wind. The swim is all fun and games until I see a crab under water and mistake it for a scorpion then my swim is cut short and I am devastated.

Do you think I can punch a moving fish with my fist?

I try to find amusement elsewhere but Esther is not going to let anything distract her from getting ‘perfect shots’

No!

She answers evasively and that’s when an epiphany suddenly dawns on me that I had to pay attention to what Ambani is teaching lest I would be in my own lonely desert. Watching Ambani and Esther do their thing is what I would call perfect passion for photography. Well, that is equivalent to me sitting on my bed the entire day laptop on my lap typing random stories and poetry but still not quite up to this level. Am just baffled.

Ambani is quite kind, seeing my pending boredom, so he involves me as the human subject in their photography, so they take photos of my feet in water and am filled with an exalted, ineffable joy to be a model. So I inquire what exactly what they were doing and Esther explains that she was learning to capture the mould and water in a photo that looks like a painting. I look at the photo and I would be damned if that photograph was not just magnificent. The water is still moving but then the shot makes it look like silk in a milky kind of way. No amount of words could I use to describe this art so let us just call it magic. Now am all eyes and ears.

Magic!

Magic!

Guess whose modelling..

Guess whose modelling..

I ask them to take photos of the green landscapes for my March Blogathon Challenge about the Seven Shades of Love which they glad do.

Zaina Falls

Zaina Falls

So, what are you going to write about Dennis?

Ambani inquired. It dawns on me that I had not thought about that, all I knew is once I started typing I would stop at 1500 words.

Write about mould and moving water.

Esther decides to offer assistance, which is not helpful at all. Now, Ambani is that kind of guy who expresses vitality in every single point he starts on. A tsetse fly could be a story in his photography, a rock and my feet. His profound wisdom and experience is visible especially from his constant mellowness. He takes his time to adjust the lens, looks at where the sun is and where the rays are falling, he notices tiny shadows and even the wind and how it will affect his photograph. Esther on the other hand is working on the concept of ‘there is never too much information’ she asks questions from all angles of photography, tries them all and is elated each time Ambani says it’s a good photo.

Soon the setting sun begins to dim the sky and the late afternoon shadows paint the landscapes through the trees and starts to fade away. Some locals from up the water fall decide to be mean and destroy our perfect afternoon by throwing stones at us accompanied with a verbal torrent of filth that assailed us. We begin to pack up and leave these strange hills have got no love for strangers, but I thought Kiuks are very friendly, I mean each time anyone visits us at home Mom is very welcoming and even offers you a cup of tea. Anyway all in all the task was done and job was accomplished.

Falling Stones..

Falling Stones..

Getting ready for the swim.. ahem

Getting ready for the swim.. ahem

We begin our way back passing through villages, some deserted and forlorn. Everyone sinks into sunken silence except this one time, no, many times we had to take group selfies and groundies on the banks of the meandering river that looks like a well fed python from up the hill. Esther goes through her photos and exclaims that the day was a success.

Now, Denis, the one with single ‘N’ once said that a picture is worth a 1000 words so it would again be senseless to using 1001 words to describe it. Enjoy the photos and give Esther a standing ovation for these photos unless of course you are in a matatu which we will have to excuse you and hope that you travel safe to your destination.

Whole crew on BAKE externship programme

Whole crew on BAKE externship programme

Photography by Esther Mukiri.

Esther Mukiri

Esther Mukiri

More Photos on BAKE DeKUT
Facebook
Twitter

[Special Regards]
Patrick Ambani Munyata (View on Instagram) – Photographer.
Sam Kairu (View on Instagram) – Arts and Events co-ordinator.

The Writer:

Dennis Peters

Dennis Peters

Dennis Peters.

Climbing Mt Kenya. Part Four.

Mt Kenya from a distance

Mt Kenya from a distance

Sunrise over the hills at dawn

Sunrise over the hills at dawn

Have you ever seen the sunrise over the mountains at dawn when the ground is still wet with dew, water still frozen to ice as if moaning the absence of sun during the night, snow converting slowly to a pool of water trickling subsequently down their accustomed path, serene, peaceful and your breathing disorienting the natural order of things because it is too heavy. You have not, but I have so grab a seat, get your popcorn and go for a rest room break because today it is going to be a long read.

The Final Account

DAY 1 SUNDAY: All turned up.

Today is Sunday 22nd February 2015. The big day we climb Mt. Kenya. Our trip is composed of around 84 students and staff, two school buses and of course the Deputy Vice Chancellor DVC is seated back left of his own Toyota Primio vehicle. We gather around the school at 9 am filled with feverish anticipation ready for departure and as soon as the flagging off is done which includes singing, speeches and prayers we are racing down in KAY bus across the school compound into the highway. Amongst my friends is Francis, Esther and Trica. We are all turned up and the selfie game is on, going live on twitter #Climb2Educate.
Our journey is from Dedan Kimathi University past Narumuro, Nanyuki, Timau and finally KeSAL, the Kenya School of Adventure and Leadership. At KeSAL we camp all through the night and this becomes the first camp which we often refer to as Base Camp.

In Nanyuki we make a stop to shop and lunch. Nanyuki is the kind of town that is so tiny yet very modern beginning with their large Nakumatt Mall and 3 star hotels. The number of white people in this region is predominantly startling considering the ratio according to my calculation of locals to whites being 3:1. Now I know it might appear as if I am a racist which I am not, am just saying there are very many white people in Nanyuki. That besides my point we get lunch and in what appears to be an entire lifetime we get to KeSAL, of course with many more stops like one which Esther had to take a groundie in the middle of the highway.
KeSAL was a cup of coffee considering there was electricity and network bandwidth. At night however the temperatures hit below ten and that was when things started to get real. We get divided into groups each with their own instructor. Francis, Trica, Esther and I have a way of sticking together so we get to the same group with the name Nzoia, our instructor being Mr. Rono. KeSAL is more or less like a military camp.

Part the crew during departure

Part the crew during departure

Whole crew in Nanyuki

Whole crew in Nanyuki

Esther's Groundie

Esther’s Groundie

The Climbing Instructors

The Climbing Instructors

DAY 2 MONDAY: I think Esther fed on adrenaline for breakfast.

So, here is the thing about mountain climbing, you walk in a single file each a step behind the other like penguins in Madagascar during migration, walking is done in designated groups each of twelve and of course the illusion gender must be considered, the slowest is the pace-setter and is always on the lead the rest follow behind, the instructor does not necessarily have to walk with you he can disappear as fast as he can appear but he is always there when there is a problem and finally and most fun, you sing as you walk like “If I fall in love in a camping school, take my ass to home, tell my momma I’m a shame… blah blah” as if to remind you camping is for fighters not lovers.

As early as 6 am the bell is rang and we get up to a little bit of working out before we hit the road. On top of the five day change of heavy clothes already in the bag an enormous sleeping bag is added. Most of our bags are barely good enough for camping so we tie the sleeping bag on top and immediately after breakfast which includes boiled eggs, a loaf of bread, green tea and a banana we set the ball rolling.

So we are matching along a rugged terrain of uncharted country where every sight and sound is unaccustomed the only thing that seems familiar are your friends of which you secretly begin to discover their other side after you have been walking together more than fifteen kilometers and that’s just horizontal distance leave alone the thousand feet of altitude you are gaining with every kilometer. No music, no bandwidth and batteries are running out and that is when I begin to observe Esther. Esther is the kind of people you would expect to see on runways of beauty pageants not mountain climbing and all through in my mind I knew at some point I would have had to help her carry her bag. Well, this does not happen not even once in fact most time keeping up with her is entirely impossible and Mr Rono has to occasionally ask her to slow down. What actually comes as a rude shock however is the fact that the load is equivalent yet I ask for breaks but she wants to keep moving. Must be the adrenaline, perhaps when we had eggs, tea and bananas she had adrenaline for breakfast!

We get to our second camp at around one called the Solo Camp which is just an open field where we set up tents and this where I begin apprehending that civilization was simply fading with the altitude. Remember in the eighties when you would fetch drinking water from the same point you took a shower then head home with your water barrel on your head to find your momma making flour using a pestle and mortal generating some kind of dissonant and raucous rhythmic sounding that makes you feel home then when the Ugali was ready you would all sit around the heath and pass gossip of the long day especially about which cattle fed on whose plantation then you would all spread your mat around the fire father, mother and tens of children sharing on bedroom which is also the dining room, more or so like a bedsitter but the rest room is outside. That kind of civilization. In camp there is no gender so Francis, Esther, Trica and I shared a self-contained tent of which I expect no questions about, am I clear?

First lets take a tent selfie

First lets take a tent selfie

Supper later around a camp fire

Supper later around a camp fire

DAY 3 TUESDAY: Are we going to die?

In this life, I have only felt close to death twice. Only twice. The first time was after watching Final Destination Movie and the second time was spending a night at Majors Camp which was our third and final camp. At Majors Camp, there is no camp fire because there is no wood lest the negligible vegetation which cannot make fire. Cooking is done using three litre gas cylinders carried by some support professionals called porters. On a bad night when there is no cloud cover, the temperatures drop to negative fifteen to negative twenty but on a good night of which I was unfortunate enough not to experience the temperature could rise to negative eight.

I often consider death when I cannot sleep considering sleeping is like death practice. Anyway we are all asleep Francis, Trica, Esther then me in that order, today has been a long day so sleep comes instantly I even forget I had to document the activities of the day. So there I am dreaming about my future sports car and priding myself on being a connoisseur of beautiful imaginary women with my assortment of other lucrative enterprises living an idyllic fantasy life. The dream is too good so I turn over in the little tent and that is when my face lands on the wall of the cold tent and I wake up screaming and cursing. Deep down I am assured that I will not be sleeping tonight in this God-forsaken wilderness but like Jesus who persevered in the wilderness for forty days this was just my third day! (See what I did there?)

In death you see the beauty of life. Perhaps that is the reason I begin making this poem:
Gentle silences
Like a snowfall
Soft, hushed
Soothing as a whisper
Of summer wind
Quite as the passage of stars.

(Read More)

Determination at its best

Determination at its best

The plates. You have to carry your plate.

The plates. You have to carry your plate.

DAY 4 WENESDAY: I want to go home to momma.

When Francis got tired of walking, unlike me who resolved to silence, conserving the little energy left and cursing in my head, Francis would begin to preach. Not really the Bible kind of preaching really but his own version of the Bible let us call it the Prince Francis Version (PFV). So today we hike from Majors Camp to Lenana Peak 4985 meters above sea level and back to Majors Camp a total horizontal distance of about thirty kilometres which sums up to fifty plus kilometers altitude gain considered. We are woken up at four and by four thirty we set out. Cold wind blows unapologetically through the hills and we clutch our jackets our gloved hands buried deep in the pockets begging for warmth.

You and I always consider a pain killer in case of a headache, stomach ache or just anywhere. In mountain climbing, painkillers are forbidden and the only solution to your body wiles is water. This morning all water we have is frozen to ice but the instructors keep emphasizing the importance of water when gaining altitude. “Maji ni muhimu, maji ni uhai, kunywa maji ata kama ni barafu” (Water is important, water is life, drink water even if its frozen to ice). So you have to sip that cold water if you want to get to the peak, a cold sip that makes your body shiver and wish you could go home to mommy and have a nice plate of millet porridge or morning pancakes. The jungle is not for quitters and as far as Esther and Trica are walking, you have to keep walking unless you want to be called a sissy who never made it to the peak.

I was telling you about Francis, so he is behind me and we are struggling through the rocks slowly then he begins “I am as strong as a horse, call me black stallion and I will make it to the Lenana and dougie 4985 meters above sea level”. I am too tired to laugh or shake my head so I let out a little sigh which is more like a cry but deep down I know Francis is right, I want to dougie at Lenana, do crazy poses and post them on Instagram to tell all those bragging idiots online that they could have been to Zanzibar or Bahamas for all I care during Christmas but none of them had faced the intrepidity of Mt Kenya, none of them had done a dougie 4985 meters above sea level. And today we did get to Lenana, we did dougie and did crazy poses, we walked until we could walk no more so we crawled, cried and begged (exclude me) to the top, to Africa’s fourth highest peak Lenana.

Trica was always the most silent among us but that changes when we start our way back from Lenana and it starts snowing heavily. The snow appears to have called a reserved energy tank in her and she begins snow fighting all the way to camp. I think we should call snow selfies snowie invented by Trica because she took a hell lot of them. We had conquered Mt Kenya our task was done, only thing left was a night at the cold jungle and we would be headed back to base camp for bonfire and barbecue.

Whole crew made it to the top

Whole crew made it to the top

We are 4985 meters above sea level... Teach me how to dougie!

We are 4985 meters above sea level… Teach me how to dougie!

Let it snow. The cold never bothered us anyway.

Let it snow. The cold never bothered us anyway.

Told you i did crazy poses

Told you i did crazy poses

The Bible they talk about at the peak.

The Bible they talk about at the peak.

DAY 5 THURSDAY: Back to civilization and the age of electricity.

The journey from Majors Camp to Base Camp through Solo Camp is quite a silent one and took about seven to eight hours. In my head I cannot wait to get to my laptop and type a story of how I almost died for all of you to read. I write Instagram captions on my Medulla especially the photo I was dancing under a snow storm. Tired but smiling 95% of us made it to the peak an achievement not most human beings could brag about.

At night an enormous bonfire is made and we dance and party till dawn. The barbecue is all you can eat roast, fry and boiled meat.

Lets build a bonfire and dance around it.

Lets build a bonfire and dance around it.

DAY 6 FRIDAY: Welcome home heroes.

A welcome home party is clearly set out on our arrival to Dedan Kimathi University the guest of honour being The Chancellor Dedan Kimathi University. Certificates are given and the party does not stop there.

Welcome home heroes.

Welcome home heroes.

Add this to your resume.

Add this to your resume.

From Left Trica, Dennis and Esther.

From Left Trica, Dennis and Esther.

Well, today I woke up with the kind of feeling that you have been ran over by a train severally but a story had to be told. A story of this being the largest gig dennispetersblog has done that comprises a series of four articles:

Climbing Mt Kenya
1. The Genesis (Read Here)
2. Aim for Resilience (Read Here)
3. Elites of the Society (Read Here)
4. The Final Account (Read Here)

Working with great people and societies:

1. Antony Oroko – Lead Publicist Climb to Educate.
2. Tabitha Wanyoike – Mentor and Consultant.
3. Sam Kairu – Arts and Events Coordinator.
4. Zawadi Society – Equipment.
5. BAKE DeKUT which was association that handed me this assignment.
6. Mr Rono – Climbing Instructor.

And special regards:

1. Team Nzoia.
2. Esther Mukiri.
3. Trica Wanjiku.
4. Francis Ndung’u.
5. Sam Munyiri.
6. Evans Mariga.

Photography by:
1. Sam Munyiri.
2. Dennis Peters.

Meet the writer Dennis Peters.

Dennis Peters

Dennis Peters

OR

View on Instagram

Climbing Mt. Kenya. Part Three.

Continued from:

Climbing Mt. Kenya. Part One.

Climbing Mt. Kenya. Part Two.

Elites of the Society

The degree you earn or deserve is not a meal ticket in life, rather a licence to hunt – Mr Polycarp Igathe.(The Managing Director Vivo Energy Kenya)

Interview with The Sports Coordinator

Interview with The Sports Coordinator

On Friday afternoon, I had the opportunity to witness the flagging off of the campaign, Climbing Mt. Kenya, which was done the customary way, Deputy Governor Nyeri County comes to school, students make a play, politicians give speeches, camera people take photos and all that. I found none of this amusing but through the camera pinhole something caught my eye.

Flagging off of the first trip by Deputy Governor Nyeri County

Flagging off of the first trip by Deputy Governor Nyeri County

Mr Sam Kairu has been teaching me basic photography with big cameras, considering the only photography I know is my Nokia Lumia camera and Instagram filters. Currently I can power on a real camera, focus and press the button but that besides my point, photography and I are going to be real friends and this is a premonition. Perhaps it’s the beauty of nature that pulls me closer to photography, the fact that all these beautiful escarpments, dazzling vegetation, uncharted country and human splendor that attritions after a while from the memory can be captured, zoomed and stored in my hard disk for reference any time. Or maybe it is just my natural fetish for machines but either way this is a new path I intend to reconnoitre.

Deputy Governor's Speech

Deputy Governor’s Speech

Our Vice Chancellor, two meters away, is giving a speech I am about three meters across his position with a camera alongside KTN media, and other media people I never took enough time to fathom their attributes like where they come from or the kind of story they are looking for. Sam told me to be creative with photography so I am all about novelty. Just about when the V.C. is about to hand the microphone to the governor, that is when I head on with this anathema. A camera man, let’s call him Guy X, brushes against me roughly and jumps ahead to take a picture of the handshake. For a moment I am unperturbed by this ordeal as am also busy taking photos even though my focus is totally different, remember Sam told me to be creative. I let that go.

Prayers during the Flagging off ceremony Background - Mt Kenya.

Prayers during the Flagging off ceremony
Background – Mt Kenya.

So after reading his written speech the governor is to be handed the flag by the scout to officially flag off the campaign and that’s when Guy X decides to extend his discourtesy to a whole another level, he heads back with his video camera in his arms, large canon camera on his shoulder and forces himself between me and yet another media guy hitting me with his camera on the process. At this moment I am infuriated and unduly optimistic Guy X is going to act contrite but none of this happen. All am saying is, you got to be kind out there, feel me? doesn’t cost you nothing! feel me?

Excited Participants leaving school for Base Camp at Mt. Kenya

Excited Participants leaving school for Base Camp at Mt. Kenya

Training time :-)

Training time 🙂

That besides my point, finally on Friday 13th the first group leaves the school in two buses towards Mt. Kenya 5199 meters above sea level. I catch up with our sports coordinator who is dressed tooth and nail ready for the below -15 degrees temperature. With him two backpacks, one at the front the other on the back. He explains that the front one has cookies for energy supply in the body but refuses to hand me any. The large bag on the back he says contains the hiking gear, a self-contained means for the five day trip. Further still Mr Benson explains that on Friday they spend the night at the foot of the mountain where they will be doing bonfires and talents. On Saturday morning however they would rise at 5.55am start working out before beginning the climb later on. Mr Benson says he is not as excited having been working as a professional at the mountain. The second group is to join them on 18th February while the last and third group which is going to be most fun because, you know, I will be there, head off on 23rd February.

From Right: Dean of Students Dedan Kimathi University, M.D Vivo Energy, V.C. Dedan Kimathi University and Sports Coordinator Dedan Kimathi university

From Right: Dean of Students Dedan Kimathi University, M.D Vivo Energy, V.C. Dedan Kimathi University and Sports Coordinator Dedan Kimathi university

Vivo Energy Kenya, the guys behind the Shell Company brand are among the sponsors of Climb to Educate Charity Campaign. On Friday 6th of February, the MD Mr Polycarp Igathe joined us during training with some very wise words to say. So for the first time ever am uploading an audio, his speech have a look at it. Mr Igathe arrived late however and I couldn’t quite capture him on camera but on his defence he said that he had been stuck in traffic for quite a while, a good indication that his business which is fuel was booming. He was very interested in working with academics referring to us often as elites of the society. Mr Polycarp created quite an impression especially his choice of words and pronunciation of English terms. Listen to the speech guys.

Mt. Kenya from Dedan Kimathi University Library

Mt. Kenya from Dedan Kimathi University Library

Daily Training routine continues. Some of the staff joining us.

Daily Training routine continues. Some of the staff joining us.

Further into development of this #Climb2Educate trending topic on Thursday 12th February a day before the flagging off ceremony, Mr Sam Kairu and I managed to capture very perfect shots of the mountain on a clear sky. On this line of thought, we had interviews with some of the participants with the background being the mountain which you could easily spot the three peaks. The Tourism and Hospitality department expressed their support of Climbing Mt. Kenya. Miss Schola Gacheri told us of events they had held so far to raise funds for the endowment fund with the most recent one being a bush dinner at Dedan Kimathi University conservancy. They did not disclose how much money they had raised but that’s just because I was not persuasive enough. The Dedan Kimathi University Salsa team had the same story with their own ways of raising funds for the endowment fund.

Interview with the Tourism and Hospitality department. Background - Mt Kenya.

Interview with the Tourism and Hospitality department.
Background – Mt Kenya.

Honestly, I have never felt so close to a hundred million Kenya shillings as I do now.

Everlyne's Interview with Caroline Njoroge one of the organizing committee member.

Everlyne’s Interview with Caroline Njoroge one of the organizing committee member.

Finally, I know I said this would have been the last article of this series but am not up the mountain yet, so part four “The Final Account” still in the wind which is going to be the most exciting. These photos were done by me and any criticism is welcome. It was my first time with a professional camera so help me help me. Thanks for clicking in.

Well, that's the definition of flagging off. Now you know, thank me later.

Well, that’s the definition of flagging off. Now you know, thank me later.

[Special Regards]
Art and Equipment by Zawadi Society.
Miss Everlyne Kimando (BAKE)
Sam Kairu (Art and Events Coordinator)

The writer and photographer:
Dennis Peters (BAKE).

Dennis Peters. Background - Mt Kenya.

Dennis Peters. Background – Mt Kenya.

Climbing Mt. Kenya. Part Two.

Continued from Climbing Mt. Kenya. Part One.

Aiming for Resilience.

The chairman Climb to Educate Charity Campaign, Mr Brian Manana must have read Climbing Mt. Kenya. Part One. To the very best of luck he granted me a chance to interview him on a documentary about this event and shed some light on this trending topic. So on Thursday afternoon I get all my questions right, make sure my dressing code is alright and movement is that of Jeff Koinange and coolness such as that of Julie Gichuru with definitely nothing from Larry Madowo except his amenability which is a usual character of mine.

Training in Progress

Training in Progress

Mr Sam Kairu, the guy with the big cameras prepares me to go on air. Mr Sam Kairu is one of those people that amuses me each day I get a chance to work with him. He has this cool demeanour and responsiveness to ideas. Whenever he airs out his ideas they are well thought, all variables contemplated with profound wisdom and experience. So on Thursday he suggests where the interview should be held. It happens also that from Dedan Kimathi University’s graduation square you get a perfect view of the intrepid symbol of our nation Mt. Kenya. On this Thursday however the mountain’s peak is hidden behind the clouds so Sam is confounded, nevertheless as he sets up his big machines he ensures he captures the mountain. Concurrently he tells us tales about the beauty of Central Kenya.

Mr Anthony Oroko, my boss, and I listen intently as Sam describes the sunset behind the mountain, about some none-locals who come to the country for vacation or simply work and had got obsessed about the view of the mountain. This often sends me to shame for the utmost fact that even on a clear sky when the mountain offers itself willing I obstinately fail to acknowledge its beauty but I give myself justification on the base of numbers, multitudes who often fail to notice the beauty of nature. Anthony feels the same way I suppose but that does not show on his face. Anthony is one of those conventional leaders bestowed with intrepidity whereby you are not supposed to show any indication of weakness in public (hehe, wonder what he will say about this).

The ladies showed up too. Far right our trainer, Koech.

The ladies showed up too. Far right our trainer, Koech.

We have fun too amidst training.

We have fun too amidst training.

I went off topic, so we get the interview ready the perfect view of the mountain according to Sam and as soon as we are done, the chairman Climb to Educate Charity Campaign joins us. So Sam counts one, two, three and we are on air.

Before I tell you what happens, I have always wondered how it feels like to be on air. I mean since I watched my very first movie in the 90s which was Sarafina and re-watched a hundred times after that I always wondered if you should be the real you when the spot light is on you to just find some cool guy to impersonate. Now here I was cameras on me as if the whole world expected me to say something smart so they would give me a standing ovation and applaud and then I would scream my name, Njenga, and feel that I made it in life. Well, a lot of things happen this Thursday Evening but that is not one of them.

Group Eight

Group Eight

My name is Dennis Peters, with BAKE DeKUT, am joined here today by the chairman Climb to Educate Charity Campaign who is going to introduce himself and enlighten us to depths of this nationally trending topic of a student and administration excursion trip intended to build an endowment fund for needy students as well as promote growth of Dedan Kimathi University’s family where staff, students and stakeholders engage positively.

That becomes my introduction. By the way BAKE stands for Bloggers Association of Kenya and DeKUT stands for Dedan Kimathi University of Technology. Just thought I should clarify but if you guys have any other question I will gladly answer on the comment box or email you. That besides my point, am trying to do an interview. Brian’s answers are cut to precision.

Interview with Oscar, a participant.

Interview with Oscar, a participant.

Me: Hello sir, thank you very much for coming (doing that professional handshake you see on TV). Please tells us you name and a brief description about the Climb to Educate Charity Campaign.

Mr Manana: Thank you very much Dennis, my name is Brian Manana, chairman of The Climb to Educate Charity Campaign. Now Climb to Educate just as you said is a cultural and technological expedition intended to build a DeKUT endowment fund for our needy students, promote social growth amongst staff, students and stakeholders and lastly aid in harnessing useful energy from the students make them shine all the way from the mountain top.

Me: How did this idea come to be? Has it been done before? and was there some challenges in making the administration fall in line with you?

Mr Manana: Yeah, convincing the administration about this was a bit of an uphill considering we intend to take three hundred students up 5199 meters above sea level but working together brought about a common ground which was the endowment fund which was a mutual concern. This idea is original and has never been implemented elsewhere but now it is an annual occasion in Dedan Kimathi University.

Me: Indeed that’s something that deserves applauding. Will you be going up the mountain yourself?

Mr Manana: I wouldn’t miss it.

Me: By the end of this campaign how much money do you target to have collected for the fund?

Mr Manana: One hundred million is our target. Sponsors are coming in and according to me this is an achievable dream that will soon be a reality.

Me: One hundred million!

Mr Manana: Yes, One hundred million.

Me: About this trip, could you hint us of its budget now that we understand that the students are not been charged anything?

Mr Manana: The budget is about nine million for three hundred students and staff. This includes camping tents and sleeping bags, food, entrance charges and other miscellaneous expenditures.

Me: Last weekend you were at Narumoru caves and this weekend we head to the Aberdare Ranges, what is the purpose of these trips?

Mr Manana: These pre-trips aim for resilience in the participants. Mt. Kenya is going to be tough and we might as well be ready for it.

Me: Finally Mr Manana, how does it make you feel to be the initiator of such a noble idea?
Mr Manana: To be candid, am honored to lead people I can call my family to a new beginning. A time we can solve our problems by helping each other and dialogue instead of taking it to the streets, before us we have a chance to be the voice of Central Kenya and express its beauty in our endeavors.

Me: Am glad to be in Dedan Kimathi University at such a time. Thank you Mr Chairman and gratitude for showing up for this interview beside your busy schedule now that 16th February approaches fast.
You heard it all from the president Mr Brian Manana. Thank you for watching.

(Sam screams ‘CUT’ and we are off air)

The Adrenaline never dies

The Adrenaline never dies

....And the smiles

….And the smiles

Fun is the main thing

Fun is the main thing

Apart from this interview, I also did one with the trainer who revealed to me the set gear the participants are supposed to carry. Which includes water proof boots, a backpack, very warm dressing and appropriate for movement, a rain coat among others. He also warned that the temperatures could go up to negative ten so we had to be ready. (See what I did there? I said ‘WE’ yeah am going too, am so thrilled). I interviewed Mr Anthony Oroko, the head publicists and my boss who emphasized on #Climb2Educate on twitter. Amongst the three hundred I sampled out a few participants too who all showed enthusiasm towards this expedition with their main point being raising funds for the needy, one of them gave an example of a fellow student who had dropped out of campus for such reasons.

Ideal boots for Mountain Climbing.

Ideal boots for Mountain Climbing.

Lead trainer, Mr Kennedy Mwai

Lead trainer, Mr Kennedy Mwai

By the time we called it a day, Sam, Anthony and I were exhausted. Sam still went ahead to take pictures of the participants training though. If only there was a way I could show passion to my studies like Sam does for his work then… (This statement has no second part).

Yeah...

Yeah…

Everyone smiling.

Everyone smiling.

So i hope all of you will check out for that documentary, once its out on YouTube and Climbing Mt. Kenya. Part Three. ‘The Final Account’ that will come soon covering the entire trip.

#Climb2Educate
Climb to Educate on Facebook

[Special Regards]
Sam Kairu. Arts & Event Coordinator.
Anthony Oroko.
Miss Tabitha Wanyoike.
Audio/Visual Equipment courtesy of Zawadi Society.

Photography By Anthony Oroko/ Sam Kairu.

The writer:

Dennis Peters

Dennis Peters

Climbing Mt. Kenya. Part One.

The Genesis
Dad, do you think from here to Nairobi is further than from the foot to the top of Mt. Kenya?”

I asked Mr Njenga one sunny, festive afternoon as he drove through the green savannahs of the Central Province.

“There is a difference between height and length son.”

He replied vaguely to my thousandth question. Come to think of it, he was probably having a difficult time keeping his eyes on the road yet replying all this endless curiosity questions in fact my mom seated next to him on the front seats of his KAA Toyota Corolla had got tired and slept. My sister on the other hand had her ear phones on the whole time probably avoiding me too. I was like a nasty bee buzzing on your eyes but none of this could put me down. I was on a discovery spree.

“I would love to visit Mt. Kenya someday climb to the top to where the snow is”

I finally concluded. It was 24th December 2001. Njenga and his family were all headed upcountry to spend time with relatives. This happened every year and been a six year old boy the world seemed vast and difficult to comprehend. It was an irrefutable conundrum I struggled to solve every day. When the traffic boys in blue waved at us, I asked questions, when we met a lonely passenger and we did not stop to give him a ride on the empty back seat, I asked questions, when we stopped for gas and the attendant dusted the wind screen, I asked questions. To be honest now I understand why my sister never got rid of her stupid earphones.

That was then now its 2015, no longer six but headed to twenty in a matter of days. Still I wonder how high Mt. Kenya is. Google says its 5199 Meters but I still do not get it. I travel to school and it is visible on early mornings from the highway but I am no longer looking, I am the one with earphones now staring intently at my phone screen. My mind resolved that climbing Mt. Kenya was unachievable when the years raced and my mind grew. But deep inside the curious six year old lies in sleep perhaps waiting for an opportunity to climb out. An opportunity such as the Climb to Educate Charity Campaign courtesy of Dedan Kimathi University of Technology.

Mt. Kenya Sculpture at Dedan Kimathi University

Mt. Kenya Sculpture at Dedan Kimathi University

My second year in Dedan Kimathi University heads to a terminus. Each day I pass by the model sculpture of Mt Kenya just past the university gate though I am certain most of you have never seen it. On a happy morning, one I do not have a lot of texts to reply or tweets to favorite I throw a glance or two to the horizon where the mountain glares at us perhaps angry that with all the glamor, beauty and strength we do not pay enough attention. No wonder when the sun appears it hides behind the clouds not to be seen no more. Still I have not had the opportunity to visit this intrepid symbol of our country at least not until 16th to 20th February, 2015 when the Climb to Educate campaign will commence.

During this venture organized by Dedan Kimathi University and Dedan Kimathi University Students, I will not only have the chance to have a lot of fun fully funded and get answers for my questions but also raise funds for bursaries and scholarships for the needy among us. This is the kind of occurrence you say ‘one stone, three birds’ not really sure if that’s possible leave alone the question why you would be throwing stones at birds.

Highest Peak of Mt. Kenya - Batian

Highest Peak of Mt. Kenya – Batian

Climbing Mt. Kenya will be a cultural and technological expedition where by the main objectives are:

  • Building the DeKUT Endowment Fund for needy students.
  • Promote the growth of DeKUT family where staff, students and stakeholders positively engage with the purpose of deepening the individual relationships in a new and refreshing way.
  • To provide opportunities for DeKUT students and fraternity to harness and horn their useful energy, brilliance and shine all over Kenya from the mountain top.

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Be part of this profound experience:
#ClimbToEducate
@climb2educate
facebook.com/climb2educate.

The Writer:

Dennis Peters Deepeters.

Dennis Peters
Deepeters.