This article is particularly addressed to non-native Italian speakers. It’s an invitation to sense a little of the playfulness in the air at Damanhur and to share in some of my most amusing experiences. You know that Damanhurians choose to have an animal name… but what happens in everyday life when you call someone by an animal name?

Not being Italian, I have learned these names precisely as if they were regular names for people. There was no difference for me between Ragno (Spider), Cavallo (Horse) and Gatto (Cat) or Anna, Paolo and Elena. I’ve always found it very fascinating that there are no two people with the same name in our community. There is only one Elefante (Elefant), one Giraffa (Giraffe) and one Rinoceronte (Rhinoceros), so you know whom people are talking about right away. Given the richness of existing fauna on this planet, there will never be the problem of finding original animal names for new citizens who come.

Now, I would like to invite you to do an experiment. Read this phrase out loud in your mother language: “Look, Sparrow, Lizard told me that Penguin is not coming on time, so we have to ask Chameleon or Camel if they can come instead!” When I say the names in my native language, it always makes me smile, and I understand how important it is to have fun and know how to play in life!

Now I would like to share one of the funniest experiences about our names. I was in a large warehouse of Swedish furniture with another Damanhurian. He was much faster than me in moving through the kilometers of chairs, beds, cutlery, glasses, napkins, boxes, etc., so sometimes (or I could say, very often) in the midst of the crowd, I shouted his name “Maiale!” (which means Pig)…

“Pig! Pig, where are you? Pig, please come here!” Needless to say, everyone was staring at me in confusion. After all these people were looking at me insistently, I asked Pig if there was something wrong with my appearance, something strange on my face or some awkward spot on my clothes, but there was nothing. Everything was in order as always. Since the warehouse was very large, we repeated the scene of me calling out for Pig several times, and every time, people around us reacted!