It had seemed like a long wait for Kenya's Ismali community--almost eight years--but their patience was more than rewarded when His Highness the Aga Khan came this time on a real "family safari".
His Highness and Begum Salimah made a brief visit to Nairobi in 1978 for the State funeral of President Jomo Kenyatta.
But, because of his busy official schedule, His Highness's last lengthy visit to Kenya was in early 1972.
However, the joyous reception given by his devoted followers during his 1981 tour told him their unanimous verdict--the wait was well worth it.
For this time His Highness was accompanied not only by the Begum Salimah, but also his sister, Princess Yasmin, and his three charming children--Princess Zahra (10), Prince Rahim (9) and Prince Hussain (7).
And during their visit the children captured the hearts of all who saw them at the various functions they attended, always conducting themselves with the poise and dignity that belied their tender ages.
At many of these functions they met members of the community.
His Highness's busy programme took him to all parts of the country to meet members of his community. He also had private meetings with President Daniel arap Moi and senior government Ministers and visited schools, hospitals and other Aga Khan Foundation projects.
His Highness's Mombasa visit even featured an unscheduled candlelight dinner-when a power cut plunged a local hotel into darkness.
The Imam and his party also visited Mara Serena Lodge in the Masai Mara game reserve and Treetops, where they saw a variety of wildlife, rhino and buffalo.
Meanwhile, the Begum Salimah and Princess Yasmin also had a busy schedule, visiting nursery and primary schools and meeting various women's groups.
As in the past, the Begum's own programme complemented that of His Highness. Her Highness has nurtured a particular interest in child welfare and development programmes and participates in numerous community activities.
During her extensive travels with His Highness around the world she follows closely the development of the various health institutions.
"I then discuss with him what I have seen and heard," she has said. "Through this process I have developed a broader understanding of the many problems facing the developing--and even the developed--world."
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