Dandia raas is being played, geets are being sung and mendhi is being applied as members of the Jamat celebrate in anticipation of Mawlana Hazar Imam's Golden Jubilee visit to the United States. Hazar Imam is expected to grant Darbars in San Antonio, Texas; Los Angeles, California; Chicago, Illinois; and Atlanta, Georgia, between 11 – 19 April 2008.
Youth practising dance performances for the Golden Jubilee celebrations in Texas. Courtesy Ismaili Council for the USA
It is nearly 22 years since Hazar Imam last visited with the entire USA Jamat, and the excitement is palpable. Jamati members have been participating in Jubilee orientation and education programmes, while volunteer teams diligently plan the logistics and decorate the Darbar halls. In host cities, Jamati members arriving from abroad are being warmly received by hospitality teams that are extending assistance with hotel bookings, transportation, and other arrangements.
Younger members of the Jamat have prepared cultural performances in celebration of the Golden Jubilee and Mawlana Hazar Imam's visit. “We've spent months perfecting each and every part of this dance. We work really hard, but I love every minute of it,” said one high school student as she practised her Jubilee dance routine. Another student echoes similar sentiments, “All of it [the sacrifices] plus the sweat and hard work that went into it is all worth it to celebrate Hazar Imam's Golden Jubilee.”
Volunteers working into the late hours of the night preparing a hall in San Antonio, Texas. Shiraz Maherali
The coordination and planning of such a huge event has involved the dedication and hard work of thousands of Jamati volunteers who continue to work day and night preparing for the historic visit. “As a volunteer, I want to ensure that each and every member of our Jamat as well as our international Jamati guests have an enjoyable experience,” expresses one volunteer.