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I Saw The World & Came Back Home: A Diaspora Story

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For Fredrick Aridi, there is no better place than home when it comes to the telecommunications industry.

The current Head of Revenue Planning & Insights at Telkom Kenya (placed by Kenyans Come Home) has worked in different countries abroad, and says that Kenya is unmatched in the telecom space. He learned that fact the hard way after spending three years in the Middle East and the Pacific to advance his skills, only to find out that he had fallen behind once he returned home.

“One of my biggest challenges when coming back from outside the country to Kenya [in 2016] was realizing that Kenya was very advanced,” he says. “[Before I left] I was at the top of my game here, and I considered myself one of the foremost experts in Kenya. When I came back, I found that I had become average.”

He credits Kenya’s many entrepreneurial minds, as well as the country’s ability to adopt new technologies, as the reason why the country is so advanced.

"In the telecom sector, Kenya is very much ahead of the game and they’ve chartered their own path," the explains. "The country is very innovative and it can be a market leader in certain areas.

But as sweet as home can be, Fredrick says that his time overseas— in Afghanistan and Papua New Guinea— were important for his  career and personal advancements.

I used to be intimidated by people with international experience, but now I don’t feel intimidated,” he says. “I have seen what benefit you can get from international experience so it has helped me. It affirms that my skills are good.”

Those three years away also put Fredrick in a position to be hired for more senior roles. When Kenyans Come Home scouted him for his current position last year, it wasn’t his first time working for Telkom Kenya. He had worked there five years ago at a junior position, and he says that his return is encouraging to many.

You know when people say ‘home is best?’” he asks. “So when [former colleagues] see you come back, it confirms their decision to remain at Telkom because [to them] someone went, saw the world, and came back.”