Winter mission team arrives

Winter 2017 Mission Team

By Fred Hegele, Board of Directors
Imara International

Saturday – Sunday

Our Saturday flight from Minneapolis was delayed causing a missed connection in Amsterdam. So we are rebooked through London arriving in Nairobi at 5 a.m. on Monday. Our 15 pieces of luggage and supplies did not arrive in Nairobi with us, so we are working with Kenya Airlines, (and vicariously with KLM and Delta) to help our luggage to find its way to Nanyuki, maybe by Wednesday. On a very positive note the new e-VISA procedure worked flawlessly, enabling us to pass thru Customs in less than one hour.

Our team of six includes:

  • Carmella Anderson, experienced travel agent, specializing in cruises, mother of three and grandmother of two is making her first visit to Imara and Kenya.
  • Neal Dalton, exalted computer guy and father of four boys, first visited Imara home in March 2014.
  • Peggy Herrmann, retired Donaldson Company executive and mother of two, grandmother of two is returning for her second visit.
  • Kristine Michael, Physician Assistant, and mother of three, is on her third Imara team.
  • Sharon and Fred Hegele round out the group.

We have been preparing since October 2016 and we are feeling ready to go. The Kenyan Immigration procedures are quite different this year with the new electronic visa application and additional Special Permit requirements that have tested our computer skill and our patience. We are well “papered” with applications and receipts heading for the Nairobi Immigration Office on Monday to pick up the treasured permits to allow us to do our mission work at Imara Home in Nanyuki. We believe these new procedures are to protect local jobs.


Our Monday in Nairobi was very productive. Sandy and Fred navigated the Nyayo House Immigration office, with remarkable luck, obtaining all Special Permits and getting all passports duly endorsed before noon. (Great thanks to Sandy and Carol for their missionary work with the Department of Immigration over the past two months to enable the good outcomes of our divine appointments today.) We are each so pleased and proud to be totally sanctioned for our work with the Imara family this week and next.

Monday was also a time for buying toothpaste and toothbrushes, combs, deodorant and other essentials of life until Wednesday. Some modest acquisition of clothing and other supplies was completed by the female team members while Neal and Fred revisited our survival training from the Phil Zietlow Troop 570 Scouting Institute.

Carol was able to complete a deal for custom-made Imara Gala table decorations from her new best friend Boniface and his father Josea, at the Triangle Market, the daily gathering place for hundreds of local artisans and entrepreneurs. I have been pledged to secrecy as to the exact description of these beautiful and unique creations, so please come to the 2017 Gala on Sunday November 5, 2017 to learn about more new developments and surprises in Kenya. Carol and Sandy, of course had previously negotiated a price and delivery date so that we can bring these materials back to the U.S. in some of our empty luggage, assuming that it arrives tomorrow as hoped. Anyway, the market experience with Carol and/or Sandy is always a memory, and this was no exception.


It is now Tuesday afternoon, and we have arrived in Nanyuki. The drive to Nanyuki is about four hours. It included all kinds of interesting sights along the road, from cattle taking over the road in spots, baboons crossing in front of us, and lots of open air markets. Our host Sophy Gratan sends greetings to all her Imara friends back in the U.S., with a gentle reminder that the sun is shining, the sky is blue with some cumulus clouds and an afternoon temperature of mid-80s. This message is likely most appreciated by Sophy’s dear friends in Minnesota, Washington and other wintery locales in North America. For the January 2017 Mission Team, we are delighted to be back in Sophy’s airspace.