More than 350 former residents of Arusha in northern Tanzania will converge in Canada next week for the first reunion in more than half a century.
The three-day reunion in Toronto area will bring many former Arusha residents who now live in Canada, the United States, Britain, Germany, Australia, Germany and many other parts of the world.
“Our first reunion is going to be a classy event,” said Sultan Jessa, a retired journalist, co-chair of the reunion. “The response has been phenomenal.”
Initially, he said, the reunion was going to be a gathering of classmates, friends and families whose paths took them in different directions.
Some stayed behind in Arusha while others migrated to other parts of the world.
“This reunion is an opportunity to meet again, renew old friendships, make new ones, and cherish the fondest memories of those wonderful days in our earlier years,” said Jessa, who is co-chairing the event with Noor Gillani (United States).
“We are completely sold out for the main banquet,” added Jessa.
Three main events include a meet and greet night July 30 at the Quality Inn on Ambler Drive in Mississauga, a gala banquet the following day and barbecue and picnic Aug. 1 at the Bella Banquets on Jane Street in King City.
“We wish we had a bigger location to accommodate everyone,” added Jessa. “But, when you start planning, you have no idea what sort of a response you will get and how many will attend.”
In a special message, Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the gathering, first in almost 50 years, 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.
A similar message has also been received from the Mayor of Toronto David Miller.
The reunion committee has established a Website which can be accessed at http:www.arushawallas.com.
Apart from history, the site has old and memorable photographs, stories, list of sponsors and directions on how to get to the two sites.
For more information, please contact: Mohamed Lalani 905-785-3256 or 647-231-6120, Abdul Janmohamed 416-494-5085