An Interview with Emma Kimani.Wachira John
It’s been a fortnight and Interview Monday is back! This week, I feature a lady friend. It doesn’t get any better, as you soon will find out. I found her articulate, smart, eclectic and ambitious. Some time back, she prodded me to start writing and seeing that she was a writer herself, I got psyched up and gave it a shot. The rest as they say is history. She also runs a blog at emmakimani.blogspot.com . Now you know who I’m talking about.
Without further ado, guys, meet Emma Kimani.
Who are you?
My name is Emma Kimani. I am a young woman studying Actuarial Science, but that does not define me. I believe in God as my creator, so I am a daughter of God. I also believe in having an ability to change the world in a field God has called me to.
Do you know what field that is?
I am called to impact people in a way that makes them different.
Describe your typical day to me?
I wake up; have Bible study which includes prayer. I attend classes when I have them. I read a book: I’m just done reading a book called Holiness. I Google a lot. On my diary, I have this thing called things-to-Google. It’s something I always do during the day. I watch YouTube clips, especially of things that are happening. I meet friends, do assignments. Go for a meeting, I think most of my days involve people and I make sure I write every day mostly in the evenings on my journal.
You said you have a to-Google list?
Yes. If I encounter something I don’t know, I make it part of my research so that I learn something new.
What environment do you thrive best in?
Those would be where people are involved. But sometimes I do need time alone.
How often do you need time outs?
Whenever I need to rejuvenate my spirit, I take walks; listen to soft music or sermons. Sometimes I also prefer time alone because I love reading books aloud.
Reading books aloud?
Yeah. Like I am reading to someone although I do not have an audience.
What informs your life and the decisions you make?
Largely, the Bible; principles God has set in his word. People I look up to, they influence the decisions I make, thoughts I have and who I eventually become
Do you think intuition has a part in your decision making process?
Yes, definitely. I am a woman. I highly believe the intuition of a woman should not be ignored. I once read something by CS Lewis where he said that God made man and woman in his own image so that in both of them he can reflect a nature of himself. So I believe intuition is a nature of God that has been expressed through women.
Okay, and do you think men have intuition?
Who do you look up to?
There are people I look up to but I will change this list because the current people I look up to might not necessarily have the same values I have. I look up to them because of certain characteristics depending on what they do. For instance, I look up to Chimamanda because I love how she writes but I don’t love everything she writes, so that’s why I will change this list. I also look up to Sheryl Sandberg. I like her because she believes that women are capable, women can work and handle a family, but again, I’m also revising her on my list because I have come to the realization that perhaps I don’t need to be a working mother in the office but a working mother at home. I also look up to Dangote. I like the low profile he has kept despite his rise to wealth. I think he is really humble. For principles, I look up to John Piper. If there someone I relate to in terms of writing and voice, that’s John Piper.
What things have you done and are proud of?
Most recently it’s being able to run the IT department in church. (me: hmmm). Last year, we were able to resurrect this industry in Juja farm that was manufacturing soap; I was in a group called Enactus. We raised some cash and contributed to that project. We also got some Equity guys to train some disabled people who made baskets. I think that was an achievement. So far, I’m proud of the achievements I’ve made through writing.
Where has writing gotten you?
In 2009, I participated in a young women’s essay competition and got selected as second runners up in the country. Recently, I got selected to writivism.
You mentioned you run the IT department in church. How did you get to do that?
The opportunity to head that department showed up. I’d noticed I love computers when I did programming. I don’t think I can stay without gadgets. I’ve come to appreciate what technology can do.
What are you passionate about?
People. Bringing about positive change among people.
Fast forward 10 years, what do you think you will be or be doing?
I think I’ll be an entrepreneur, I’ll want a company that will solve a community need. I am largely passionate about food processing. I see food as a central part in productivity. If people have food, I think they will be productive and the economy will progress. I once went to BAT and saw how much they’ve automated the cigarette making process so that so many cigarettes are made in a minute. I wondered why there aren’t similar mechanisms for food production. I think automation will ultimately make food cheaper and the production process fast. I’d love to solve that.
I’d want to travel the world to see it from another perspective. I think when you travel, you get a new story. It’s called wanderlust.
I want to have a family; I want.
(Laughter) Yes. I will want to run my company from home. I’ll want to be a mother who works from home. I also want to have children, many children.
How many is many?
(Laughter) That’s a personal question or let’s say as many as God would want.
You said you will want to raise your kids from home. Would you say mother love is sufficient for raising kids?
No. The kids need their father. Most of what a mother does is nurture. The father inculcates discipline and value because he is the head. It is essential that the father is present when raising kids.
Alright, I’ll say a bunch of words. I want you to tell me the first thing that comes to mind when I say them. (Emma’s responses on the right)
Would you want to live abroad?
No, I love home.
What don’t people know about you?
I take notes when I’m watching movies. (I know, I’m surprised too.)
And you do that because?
Depending on what you define as entertainment, there is always something to learn from movies. No matter how fictional a movie is, it is inspired by something real.
Would you say you are inquisitive?
Yes, very inquisitive.
Has that landed you in trouble?
Well, I’m also outspoken. There was one time I asked a conductor why we sat four people on a row in the matatu and he insulted me. I felt bad I’d asked but at the end of the day, I was happy we didn’t sit more that we ought.
So there are no regrets?
Yeah. I did feel bad, it hurt me at that time but it’s necessary to move on and be happy because change happened and that’s what important.
What’s your favorite Bible verse?
Previous Alma mater?
Precious Blood Riruta. Very proud.
Why are you proud of it?
I believe the person I am, the principles I have have been build whilst there.
What’s your most memorable experience while you were there?
Going to Germany.
I understand you’ve learnt the German language. How good are you?
Whenever they ask that question in interviews, I check that box saying intermediate.
So you can have a conversation in German?
Yes. But my written German is better than my spoken German.
What was it like in Germany?
Really exciting. I was amazing that my shoes never got dirty. There wasn’t dirt to step on. It was fascinating to see how clean a place can be.
What fascinated you about Germany?
It was really exciting and different. It opened me up to the possibility of a developed world. For instance, travelling underground in a speed train for two hours while it’s dark with lights was just exhilarating.
Why did you decide to do Actuarial Science?
I love numbers.
Four years later, any regrets?
No. It has sharpened me a lot. In as much as I know I won’t practice it.
You won’t practice it? Why?
I don’t want to be an actuary per se. I don’t want to spend my life valuing life or property. I’m passionate about people and I’d like to do something inclined towards that angle. But Actuarial Science does make you a multi-strategic thinker because there is so much that is learnt that broadens your mind into thinking differently.
Apart from academics, what else are you good at?
Yes, my second name means a person who cooks.
What would you say to ladies who can’t cook?
Anyone can cook. It’s something you can learn to do.
What motivates you to write?
Day to day experiences. I believe no story is fictitious completely. In as much as it may seem fiction, that story was inspired by a true story.
What genre do you write about?
I’m not intentionally biased, but I do write a lot about relationships. It’s a picture of Christ and the church. I think it’s a central part and God wants to use me to remind people how they should be relating because relationships are an imagery of Christ and the church.
Whenever I see something in society, I end up writing a lot about it. On my blog, the posts that have most views are those about relationships yet sometimes I think the creative ones are more interesting.
Speaking of the blog. How did it come about?
I used to write poems on Facebook. Everyone then started telling me I should start blogging. Eventually I started.
What do you hope to accomplish with writing especially on your blog.
I hope to be a voice that changes our mindsets and especially among young people.
How has the blogging experience been?
Exciting! It’s always interesting whenever you look at the statistics and I know you can resonate with this being a blogger yourself. You may look at the statistics and see that someone from china has read your blog and you wonder why they are reading it. Sometimes, there are posts that have more views in Europe than in Africa and you can’t help but wonder why. It’s a very interesting aspect about blogging though.
Also, you can write a post and people inbox you with questions and you realize people and society is in dire need of a certain matter to be addressed.
You mentioned a book you are reading?
Yes. But I’ve just completed it. It’s called Holiness by Nancy Leigh. It’s about how we are called to be Holy. God expects us to be Holy because He is Holy. I believe it has changed me. I’ve made a commitment not to watch anything that has a hint of sin. I know it’s difficult but I know it’s doable. You should read that book. (I nod)
On the topic of relationships, why do you think there are break ups in the Church?
John Piper In his book This momentary marriage, says that more than anything the thing that keeps two people together primarily is not love but the ability to forbear with each other. Christ’s forbears with the church, He tolerates us, he forgives us and he copes with us in as much as we are sinful and out of that love is born. It’s the same thing with relationships. There is no way two people can say that we’ve stopped loving each other. Holding on to each other should keep them together. To answer the question, I think people get bored with each other and perhaps think they don’t love each other and so they break up but that should not be a ground for breaking up. Lately, I have noticed that it’s because persons in relationships notice other people who look better or seem better than your partner and they become detached in the relationship. Same story in marriage.
Probably it’s good to break up when you realize that it’s not right or you are in a relationship with the wrong person. But I don’t encourage breakups.
So what’s the punch line?
The question that comes to mind is why did you choose them instead of the other person? And honoring the commitment you made.
I have to ask, whenever a guy proposes, from the girl’s perspective, where’s God’s part in that?
I think God’s part should be from the very beginning; the beginning being that time when a lady’s intuition tells her that a guy is interested in her. She should start praying at that point and shouldn’t wait till the guy asks her out.
What games do you fancy?
Chess and Scrabble. I’m good at scrabble more than I am in chess. But I am good in draught. I can beat you in a game of draught.
You can beat me? (Curious look)
Yes. (Laughter. Me: I should challenge you to a draught game one of these days)
What’s your favorite dish?
For now; Ugali, skuma, meat and avocado.
I know this sounds boyish; do you have a dream car?
Yeah, Range Rover Sport.
(Eyes wide open, thinking aloud) That’s a huge powerful car, for a lady?
Hehe. Stop stereotyping. When you understand cars, you get to understand what a good car is and a Range Rover Sport, turbo charged is a good car.
Would you say you are a tomboy?
Not really, maybe there aren’t interests that are segregated for guys and for ladies. I’m just someone who’s interested in things.
What are your thoughts about the boy child?
I think it goes back to the story of Adam and Eve. It’s not God’s plan for men to be sidelined. Men are supposed to be leaders, kings, making it out there.
Obviously, you are an ambitions lady. Do you think men are afraid of ambitious ladies? Like yourself?
Definitely. I think that has always been the case since time immemorial. A man who is afraid of an ambitious woman is not the right man for her.
Is there a man for such a lady?
Yes. A man who is more ambitious. (Laughter)
Parting shot, take it home.
I believe everyone is a brand. Each of us is unique and different. God has created you for a unique purpose. Make sure you don’t imitate anyone so that you ultimately become the person you want to be.
I can’t end this before you tell me something in German.
Es war interessant.