Many tears of joy were shed at the three-day reunion – first in more than half a century – of Ismailis who once Arusha in northern Tanzania.
“From the numerous positive comments we keep receiving, this event was a resounding success,” admitted Sultan Jessa, a retired journalist and co-chair of the memorable event.
The unique reunion brought together more than 400 Ismailis from Australia, England, Germany, Switzerland, the Dominican Republic, Tanzania as well as Canada and the United States.
“This was a perfect event,” said Amin Maherali of Calgary. “We had great fun and this reunion will leave us with many great moments to cherish for a long time.”
Britain’s Parin Kassam, also an executive member, said the reunion was a success beyond expectations.
“We had a wonderful time,” added Firoza Jivraj. “This event excelled all our expectations.”
Suli Asani of Toronto said it was a well organized event. “It was a dream come true.”
Initially, the reunion was going to be a gathering of a few classmates and friends.
“A reunion like this is the best time to refresh the memories of the golden years spent in Arusha,” said Jessa.
There will probably be another such event in the next three or five years in Calgary, Alberta, he said.
Nearly 400 people attended the formal African theme banquet on Saturday and there were more than 500 people at the Farwell barbecue.
In his message, Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the gathering presents everyone with a wonderful opportunity to celebrate shared heritage.
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty praised former Arusha residents and the Ismaili community for playing an important role in shaping the strong and dynamic society Canada enjoys today.
Ismailis are followers of His Highness the Aga Khan, who was recently granted honorary Canadian citizenship by Harper.