Sarah Nderi

by Monicah Wangari
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I arrive a little ahead of her. It gives me enough time to prepare, to breath out the traffic hustle. Am nervous, it’s my first. Am excited, it’s my first.
The venue is Cafe Deli, Moi Avenue. First of all, I’m impressed, majorly. Last time I was here, it was smaller and darker. Except for the usual cutlery and people chatting noise, there’s background music playing. It’s couples on dates here mostly.

As I scan the area and my notes, she comes in, in a dress and a trenchcoat, carrying a backpack, she must be carrying a notebook. After all, she’s a prolific writer. “I hope am not too late” she says as we exchange pleasantries, to which I respond “I’ve not been here too long”, for courtesy and because really, I needed the breather time before she arrived.

I’ve already ordered this yummy looking banana milkshake. She orders dawa as she feels an incoming cold.

We, after catching up, dive into the interview. Just then our orders are served. The dawa is a concortion of what you make at home when you have a cold, and if bitter you’ll add some honey. She commends how good it is. My banana milkshake, well it’s bananey, I like it.

Who is Sarah Nderi?

“Serah Nderi is my government name. From my writing,  am Sarah Nderi. Am a writer, a statician, an aspiring film maker.”

What’s your blogging story?

“I was a good creative writer in high school such that my stories would go to other schools to teach creative writing. My sister took communication and journalism. They had a blog assignment and I decided to make mine and try blogging. This was my basis for writing. And since I was a good reader too because of my father (he used to get me many books), my writing was on level too.
Later in campus in 2016, I begun writing on WordPress and it became fulfilling writing and interacting with the WordPress community. It has been amazing because through blogging, I’ve met videographers, web developers, creative people generally. I then participated in a blogging challenge with a top blogger, Belle Brita, and this translated to more viewers for me, 500 a month, or 100 even when I’d not posted. So it gave me a push that so many people were viewing my content. I even begun seeing the larger picture; to monetize my writing by first owning my craft. I started writing on Medium and reading medium articles. Now I have my own site, I wanted to call it liveloveinspire but it was taken already. The challenge with having my name as my blog name is it means I am a brand as a person. People should know what I represent. But am finding my tidings and scope slowly.
I write on 5 publications on medium.
Currently my 9am – 5pm is digital content analysis at Mum’s village, Kilimani. Writing, managing social media sites, data analysis, Google analytics, basically website-y stuff.

You have a fire. What’s your drive?

“My faith is a huge part of me.” She goes ahead and explains that God ordains her steps (Proverbs 16:9). That she looks upto Habakkuk 2:2. She doesn’t believe in things just happening. She believes in planning and praying about them. She even shows me her 2018 goals that she wrote start of year. 95% are done.
Among them learning French, she has started already. Also reading the whole Bible which she has already. Ps: You Version Bible app has plans.

What’s a normal Sarah day like?

“Wake up at 5am shower, take my coffee as I write till 6, it’s the best time because life has not started yet. What helps me to be creative is not looking into social media before and after sleeping. Out of the house by 7am, to get to work by 9am. Work all morning then do research and social media stuff in the afternoon. Leave work at 5pm, go home and squeeze in time to research and herness my skills”

Do you sleep with your phone?
” I do sleep with my phone because of the alarm. But I make sure that before I sleep, I put it away and read my Bible. Am trying to manage my social media use, giving it strictly one hour every day. In the afternoon. Because am a morning person. So from 12 noon am on a downward trend.”

What’s your all time best read?

” My current read; My Utmost for His Highness by Oswald Chambers. It’s like an 1800s book. About a guy who journals every day about his journey with God. His wife decides to turn it into a book.”

What’s your take on our generation and the struggles we face among them being idle time on social media, self diagnosed depression and wanting microwave success?

“Most people are depressed mostly because of relationships and unemployment. I’ve heard people commit suicide while in campus. What I’ve learnt is to not let my emotions be a button for outside triggers. How much do you love you to protect you? Spend time alone with your thoughts to the extent that they don’t scare you. Bring your thoughts to captivity. Because most people are scared of their own thoughts and they surround themselves with noise. Work on them.”

I ask what her greatest fear is, first she wonders then says insects and snakes. I ask for a deeper rooted fear, she says missing heaven. I ponder on that.

Favorite body part and personal trait?

She smiles and sureredly says,
“Physically, my legs, my inner person, the fact that i can plan, am consistent and disciplined”
I tell her how inconsistent I am to which am adviced to keep training my mind so it knows that no matter what, I need to get things done.

If you were to change something about yourself what would it be?

“Physically nothing. I can be too emotional but I wouldn’t want to change that now. Because I feel am more atune with other people’s feelings.”
“And it’s a fuel for writing.” I interrupt, I just had to.

Describe yourself in the future.

She is thoughtful for a while then tells me, “25 is in 3 years. I will be financially independent, giving back to the society, working out, exploring new things, having done a lot in my creative pursuits. The world is my oyster. At 30, am self employed and am married with 2 kids.”

Just then the lights at Cafe Deli Moi Avenue go off. The current song playing in the background changes. The volume increases. Who is playing? Harmonize’s Happy Birthday. Roughly eight waiters and waitresses dressed in uniform carrying some interesting flamming long torches approach a table a few metres away from ours. I can see from a distance the birthday girl is ecstatic. She is seated covering her face in happy disbelief and eventually she stands to dance along with her friends. When the song ends, the lights are hit back on. I make a mental note to tell you how classy, spacious, date worthy cafe deli now is, yes they renovated. I think the pressure came from the new food outlets in Nairobi, am talking CJ levels.

We are almost done with our drinks and so am I with the interview but I still ask a few.

Favorite pass time activity is watching Netflix specials, comedies anytime.

Favorite colors are black, white, navy blue, red but she is trying to go girly with florals.

Favorite meal is anything with meat.

Favorite quote/ Bible verse? “Ephesians 3:20”

Favorite article on “Exploring Tanzania. Because I love to travel”

“Anything else you’d like to add,” I ask. She tells me that she did direct a film at a creatives garage workshop. Here’s the vimeo link

And throws in a little advice, “find yourself first”

Am about to jet to shagz and from me to you, happy holidays.

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