05 May 2015
“I saw these children that have nothing. They live in a city of small tin huts. It was shocking, but it was amazing to be able to make them smile. I got back to our hotel after the shows and nearly just broke down”, he said.
Not only has Magic Phil vowed to do it again next year – but he’s also contributing profits from his merchandise to the relief efforts on an on-going basis.
“I’m going to do it again next year – and every year that I can. Compared to humanitarian efforts it’s small, but if I can make the kids smile for a short time, it’s still worth it”, said the Englishman.
The magician and stage performer, real name Philip Nelson, visited the Azraq refugee camp to perform for Syrian refugees as well as performing for 150 orphans in Amman. Magic Phil performed for children aged from two into their teens. The orphans were brought to the Princess Haya recreational centre for a day out – and were given gifts as well as a show and lunch. While he was in Amman, another orphanage invited Magic Phil to perform. “We were invited to come along. It was unplanned but we were happy to accommodate a second show. Now, I am just emotionally and physically drained, but it was the trip of a lifetime, completely worth every second. The children were beautiful, but they’re needy – many have been traumatised.
They demanded attention and hugs, it was heartbreaking”. Magic Phil, who has lived in Dubai for two and a half years, said that prior to going to Jordan he was involved in other aid efforts. “I was helping with collections for refugees, for winter clothes, and it occurred to me – there’s so much more I can do”, he said. Though he says he’s far from fluent in Arabic, the entertainer did his shows in the language, knowing enough to get by. Magic Phil said: “I know the key words for my show, and I do perform it in Arabic in Dubai too – they understand, and had a blast”.
The magician said that when the Dubai community heard about what he was doing the offers of support-flooded in. “People just heard about what I was doing, and they wanted to get involved. Flydubai donated flights, Big on Children made personalized CDs for the orphans.
I mean, it just went on – Bookworm Dubai donated magic sets for the children at the refugee camp”.
Magic Phil, who lives in The Greens and became a professional magician at the age of 17, insisted: “The mission was one of the most difficult but rewarding things I’ve ever done – and I will definitely return”.