Imara Village nears groundbreaking, kids go on safari

Safari with Hippo

By Fred Hegele, Board of Directors
Imara International


The Kenya Imara International Board of Directors met on Friday afternoon at Cape Chestnut to discuss the Imara Village startup and groundbreaking ceremony. The final contractor bids are due today and the British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATUK) will review and make recommendations for awarding the winning bid within the coming week.

We owe the BATUK a great nod for their extreme service and assistance. Their expertise is so important in guiding a startup organization like Imara International as we undertake the development of Imara Village. While we have skilled and dedicated people throughout the Imara network, we don’t know what we don’t know!! BATUK knows construction, contracting, regulations, weather, black-cotton soil, Kenyan culture, and the plethora of important details that are so fundamentally critical to the outcome of our building project.

We thank the Good Lord for guiding us to this terrific partnership, and we give the British Military our warmest salute for their incredible community-minded spirit.

Our Kenyan Board now numbers seven members, five of whom are Kenyan, and we are so grateful for their wisdom and dedication to greater good of the Imara mission. They have already helped build bridges with key partners, giving us good advice and counsel on finding our way, and in general keeping us safe and sound. When we discussed community relations, the Board unanimously assured us that “community building is in their blood.”

One example of how God is working the Imara journey occurred when Board member Pastor Robinson raised the question of electricity at the new site. We all affirmed that there is no service within several kilometers, and we know on no plans to bring power to our land. Our project includes a diesel generator, and we want to explore solar power within our planned village. Chairman Brian has recently become aware of government funding for solar power. Operations Director and Board member Sandy has recently become acquainted with a grant-writer here in the community. Pastor Robinson, a professional electrician (in his spare time!) offered to help us pursue the solar option. If anyone had a doubt about God’s hands within Imara, one might conclude this is all coincidence. We have no such doubts!

Chairman Brian has planned the groundbreaking ceremony for next Wednesday, February 1. The guest list has been carefully developed to be inclusive, and hand delivered invitations have been warmly received—more evidence of Carol’s and Sandy’s presence here. We look forward to meeting our immediate neighbors of the village land, local, county, federal officials, school principals, and other invited guests on Wednesday. Board member Sophy kindly advised us all to bring sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat, anticipating God’s great light to be shining on the event. We’re excited.

Friday night we joined the locals at Cape Chestnut for tapas—great food, once again—and a community that cherishes Carol and Sandy. We happened to be sitting in a place where everyone coming or going would greet them and converse. Can you see why these two American missionaries call Nanyuki, Kenya their home? Can you sense why they feel called?

Meanwhile, back at the ranch (better known as the Imara Home), the team continues to progress on the inventory, the computer training, the installation of a new clothesline complete with new treated pillars cemented in place for safekeeping, and expansion of the sheep house (Winston Churchill, our main man-sheep, is expanding his family, and they need more space).


Saturday was field trip for the Imara family to the Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy, where the kids saw for the first time in their life a llama, several monkeys, an ostrich, a hippo—and importantly, they petted a cheetah and touched a 150-year-old tortoise that actually moved when the kids leaned on him. The decibel level of kid excitement in the vehicle on the trip to the conservancy was compared to an NFL game inside a domed stadium, while the trip home was akin to the silence in church preparing for prayer.

Our team devotion on Saturday evening was led by Sharon on the subject of being kind. From Galatians 5:22, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against those things there is no law.”

We had a nice discussion about acts of kindness that were observed in the past 24 hours. We also recalled the kindness of Jesus to all people. We closed in unison with, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength, or the rich boast of their riches, but let those who boast, boast about this: that they understand and know me, that I am the Lord who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,’ declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

Imara International Kenya Limited
Kenya Board of Directors

  • Brian Haworth, Chair
  • Sophy Grattan, Vice Chair
  • Robinson Njue
  • Beatrice Odongo
  • Carol Erickson, Executive Director, USA
  • Sandy Skorczewski, Director of Operations, Kenya
  • Jacinta Silakan

Imara International
United States Board of Directors

  • Larry Welliver, Chair
  • Fred Hegele, Vice Chair
  • Barb Kula, Secretary
  • Lee Ching, Treasurer
  • Carol Erickson, Executive Director
  • David Ching
  • Lindsay Freeman
  • Mona Harmann
  • Sharon Hegele
  • LeAnne Hobbs
  • Jane Hutchens
  • Kristin Thorp
  • Pete Thorp
  • Kathy Welliver