Our reunion was fantastic. Really enjoyable and well worth the long journey back to Mombasa and down memory lane.
Our thanks to Amin and his fantastic team on the ground, who put together a great program. It was good to meet everyone after 45 years and to catch up. The venue at Whitesands was great. Yasmin set aside three tables for our exclusive use, so that whenever we came down for meals, we could sit with our classmates and just talk and talk and talk. Our return to the Agakhan School was well organized with speeches and even a Bollywood show in the school hall. The Agakhan Academy was amazing and had to be seen to be believed. It was really in one of the best spots in Mombasa and made me want to go back to school!!!! However, the highlight of this trip was the Tamarind Dhow, with its silver service dinner of seafood, wine and dancing to a live band. All this, while the dhow slowly traveled up and down the coast of Mombasa. We had the dhow just to ourselves and it really was a romantic and unforgettable evening.
My son, Warren was with me. He had returned to the land of his birth to climb both Mt Kenya and Kilimanjaro. Thereafter we went on safari to three national parks, before coming to Mombasa for the reunion. Warren had the choice of just enjoying the resort and the sea, sun and sand of Mombasa. Instead, he enjoyed meeting a bunch of over 60 year olds, who behaved like 16 years olds (these are his words). Warren met some great people and heard all about the Agakhan community. We then noted a lot of what this community had done in both Mombasa and Zanzibar. It was an eye opener.
All in all, this was a wonderful trip and the memories will stay with me forever. I am just so glad that I did make the time and effort to attend.
Once again, my thanks to those who organized it. It could not have been easy to try to please everyone. However, they did do a great job. Amin, you may take a bow, as it was all your hard work and persistence that paid off in the end.
The Class of 65 Re-union that was held in Mombasa from 29th July 2010.
Where do I begin (Jambo) and where do I (Kwaharee) end but the experience of participating in the reunion has to be told to all of our friends who could not make it.
We all extend our gratitude to the organisers for making this re-union as once in a lifetime experience which in my opinion may never be repeated.
It was great to meet classmates of 1965 after 45 years:
Ø Jennifer Price with her Son from Sydney (Australia),
Ø Nakulan Nair from Seattle, Amin Issa Mawji and Fatima Mawji – Houston, Mohamed Poonja – Los Angeles (USA),
Ø Nashir Lakapti (Canada),
Ø Mohamed Dossa, Nashir Karmali, Jayant Mehta (London)
Ø Osman Kassam, Mansur Kara, Musti Mamujee (Mombasa)
Ø Rashida Alibhai (Samji), Shameem Manji (Popat), Zaitun Jiwa (Samji), Hawabai, Shama from Mombasa (Kenya)
Additional Bonus – Deepak Bowary (who was with us until the 7th Standard).
The initial meet and greet Lunch at the White sands hotel was unique and unassuming as if the years or decades that kept us apart were bridged within the first hours of establishing contact. The welcoming arranged by Mansur Kara wife Yasmin bhabi was very gratifying and the start of the re-union festivities. The early morning breakfasts were a wonderful opportunity to get to know each other on a one to one basis and how we all have progressed in life. Some evenings were spent singing old songs in one of the rooms, thanks to Mohamed Dossa bring his Karaoke machine.
Before I forget and on behalf of all those who attended the reunion our heartfelt thanks to the organisers. Without their hard work I, and the rest of the gang, would not have the opportunity to treasure these wonderful memories.
The High light was the visit to the school and the visit was scheduled for one hour but it lasted more then four hours. Most of them just welled up (misty eyed) when we set foot in the main entrance of the school. We felt that time had brought us back our memories and we went to explore the school. The present head mistress, an excellent host had laid on a welcoming party for us. We were honoured that the school pupils had put on a musical show, welcoming speeches by the teachers and a buffet was in place. We in turn took a framed picture of His Highness the Agakhans and a large cake. After the initial welcoming ceremony we were given a free range to spend time in the classrooms that we used to occupy. We could not believe that the same windows and doors were insitu and the rooms had not changed, the school bell is still in the same. The assembly hall, the top stage where we used to hold our debates and sit for our final exams have not changed. We all exchanged and relived our experiences by identifying where we sat and where the teachers stood and addressed us during class. We also had the opportunity to explore the school laboratories, library, and primary wing.
We had great laughs when Osman reiterated the antics of Poonja and the famous self exploration that was carried out by him and getting caught by Miss Dolly the English teacher. The mathematics taught by Mr Ramayana, Science by Joseph (unusually big finger tips) and Biology by Mr Madhev (Bristling Moustache), Mr Cameron the only English teacher I know who used to smoke in the class and who being an ex-forces person discussed the strengths of India and Pakistan air forces. We then all split up and explored the school and also the grounds where our nursery school was, the swimming pool is still there and also checked out where Amin Premji and then his girl friend mamli used to hug and kiss in the hot afternoon sun. We also had victoria, buya’s that we bought from the street vendors that were outside the school. We all had our own memories that we were left to explore and then we all assembled in one of the class rooms and took pictures. Jennifer Price with her son had so many memories to share with us.
We then went to visit the Agakhan academy sited in Light House and were very much impressed with the set up and the facilities it provided. Then we went on a bus tour of the light house and the town. In the evening we went to the Chinese restaurant which resides in the old Florida swimming club in light house.
We also had an evening dinner and dance on the dhow and again it was a fabulous night with the band singing English, Swahili and Hindi songs. We danced and drank some mean drinks and some of us with dulcet tones joined in the singing. We also had some street food in the evening – speciality known as muskaki.
We then all said our good byes on Sunday as some went on safari and a cruise to Zanzibar or returned to London and those who were left were indeed given a late surprise and a treat by musti mamujee who took a break from his daughter wedding and met us on a surprise visit at Agakhan resort. His hospitality treats of drinks and food was as his motto “jeevoh jeevoh – pivoh pivoh”. (Live life and enjoy your drink). Thanks musti for the treat.
On a personal note, I had the opportunity to explore my house (lived in the compound of Pandya Hospital) from where Prathiba, her brothers and I jumped the wall to come into the school. At a later date Nashir Lakpati, Nakulan Nair and I toured the Pandya Hospital where we went to check out the Tilak residents where Prathiba with her bothers lived. The house is still there but has now been divided into doctors’ cubicles/surgery. To me Mombasa still has its charm and thanks to Nashir Karmali who insisted that I took the local mode of transport every time we went into town and his expert negotiations in Swahili made sure we were recognised as locals and not from abroad. Amin Issa Mawji a great host – sava sava – brother Poonja thanks for trying to convert me into a proper khoja, Nakulan your snoring was louder than the landing gear of a Boeing jet
I attach some photographs that were taken by Mansur and once again I thank the hospitality extended by Mansur and his family and my personal thanks to Osman for putting us up for a long weekend when we attended the late shashikant son wedding in Nairobi. I am sure some of you will add what I have missed but once again thank you for the experience which I will treasure. It was good to see you all.