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Monday, November 29, 2021

Prince Charles and Camilla trace the footsteps of Christ in Jordan

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall went on a long walking tour accompanied by Princess Dana Firas, a global advocate for heritage protection. 

They climbed 25 steps and Charles was heard to say: “It’s very hot.”

Their guide highlighted the Hellenic, Roman, Byzantine and Early Muslim history of the site. During the visit, Charles stopped and planted a tree to exemplify the UK-Jordanian partnership and in celebration of the centenary anniversary for the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.  

They also took in the work carried out by Turquoise Mountain, founded by Charles in 2006, and Newton-Khalidi Fund to revive historic craftsman’s skills.

Lessons from a schoolgirl

The Prince of Wales has said he will take posing lessons from a little refugee girl he met, after being wowed by her star turn in front of the camera.

Salsapela, aged four, enchanted photographers during a visit to a community centre in Jordan, where the Prince met refugee families getting back on their feet after being forced to flee their homes.

As Prince Charles was shown around a small playground, where primary school-aged children were using the swings and slides, he swapped English lessons with young learners and admired their skills.

Meeting adult refugees forced to start new jobs after arriving in Jordan, he was given a range of handmade gifts – including a sketch portrait of himself and a pot of local honey.

He promised to send a pot of his own Highgrove honey back to the beekeeper, saying he was “thrilled” to have his first taste of the Jordanian version.

“I wish I could do more,” he told volunteers at the Al Nuzha Community Centre, which is supported by the UN High Commission for Refugees.

During the visit, the Prince saw their work in a computer lab, where children were brushing up on their skills, and spent time in the playground.

As he spoke to staff, little Salsapela, originally from Sudan, sidled up to the group and began to pose for the watching media.

Catching sight of her, the delighted Prince beamed and leaned over to tell her: “I saw you playing with all the cameras. I could pick up a thing or two!”

Asking her, through a translator, about her English lessons, she declared proudly: “This is a frog.”

He politely ignored the non-existence of any frog to congratulate her: “Well done!”

Introduced to nine-year-old Elias, from Iraq, the Prince asked about his school lessons and heard he was getting very good grades.

“Can you say a word in English?” he asked. Told “this is a frog” again, he pointed at the swing and, winking, joked that the children might like to learn “this is a swing” next.

“My Arabic is not as good as your English,” he said, smiling.

The Prince then met refugee families receiving UK assistance through UNHCR. Unable to work in Jordan, they receive basic financial help and support to help them rebuild their lives.

The Community Centre provides a safe space for refugees to gather, exchange ideas, engage in community life and strengthen their sense of belonging, with lessons designed to build self-reliance in their new home.

The Prince was impressed when handed a pencil sketch of himself by Faihaa, 38, who fled Damascus with her husband and three children after a bomb exploded near them. She now runs an art workshop in Amman.

“Wow,” the Prince said as he saw her work, before posing for a photograph with her.

She included a hand-written note on the back of the picture, asking the Prince for help and telling him: “We are not seeking asylum, we want the chance to work and be active in society.”

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