Before Adedana Ashebir moved to Kenya in 2014, she had been living the life of a nomad. China, South Korea, Ethiopia —with a stint of grad school in the U.S. somewhere in between— were all places she had called home in the last decade.
So when she was offered a job at the African Leadership Network in Kenya, she jumped at the chance to work in a new country while also being close to her roots in Ethiopia.
“It was supposed to be a three-month gig. I told myself ‘if you hate it, you can go back [to the U.S.].If you don’t hate it, you stay.' Those three months have become three years and almost 6 months,” she laughs.
But for Adedana to have stayed in Kenya this long, it must mean she loves the country, right? Not necessarily, she says.
“It’s not that I love it or hate it...It’s just that Nairobi is the place I became me. When I landed here, I was 26. I am now 30, and a lot of life, lessons, and experiences have been lived in that time,” she says. “So I say it’s the place where I grew up. Not in a childhood sense, but in a maturity and adulthood sense. That’s why I am still here."
And it looks like her new role as Africa Lead for Village Capital, a position which Kenyans Come Home placed her in 2017, could keep her in Kenya for much longer.
“I am excited to see where this goes.”
When she is not toiling away at her new job, Adedana spends her free time co-hosting and producing the popular “Afracanah” podcast. The show —which explores the thoughts and experiences of two women who were raised in African families in North America and decided to move back to the continent as adults— feeds Adedana's love for comedy.
“It's been incredibly fulfilling. It's great to have an outlet that has nothing to do with work,” she says. “I love laughter and I love making people laugh.”