Dubai: The floating library Logos Hope is more than just the sum of the millions of books that it has sold or the cultural exchanges it fosters during its global voyage.
Audio: Vounteer Norma Hernandez tells us at least a hundred thousand people are expected to visit Logos Hope this weekend in Dubai
* Audio supplied by Radio 2
As the ship comes to Dubai on January 21, the man at the helm, Captain Dirk Colenbrander from the Netherlands disclosed that his main motivation was to bring hope to people - never mind that he doesn't even get paid for it.
With its crew of around 400 of more than 45 nationalities, Logos Hope is constantly on the move, and is said to be one of the few living bastions of altruism.
What are the rewards of sailing the ship without pay?
"Yes, no one receives a salary on board the Logos Hope," said Captain Colenbrander in an e-mail to XPRESS en route to Dubai from Oman. "(But) I don't want to live just for myself and live a happy life while others in the world have bigger needs. I try to make a difference and bring hope to people."
Used to challenges
Having spent 18 years at sea and commanded two ships before Logos Hope, Colenbrander is no stranger to challenges. "There's always work left to do (on board) - it never stops. I'm often needed in two places at the same time. Most people on board have never worked on a ship, so constant training is needed, but we see the positive results of it as well."
The volunteer crew are of different ages. Anna and Simun Peter A. Torkilsheyggi, from Faroe Islands, have been sailing with the ship for almost a year and are excited about visiting Dubai.
Torkilsheyggi's main task is to drive the vehicles that belong to the ship during port calls. The best part, he said, is the multi-cultural atmosphere on the ship. "After some weeks on the ship we do not think so much about differences, but work together as a family."
Japanese Fumie Kamisawa, 21, who joined the mission two years ago, describes the ship as "a small world". In my home," said Kamisawa, "I make friends because we have the same opinions, but here you learn how to build good relationships with people."
A typical day for her starts at 7.40am when she wakes up to do her duties in the bookshop. She also worked in the galley - when she had to wash dishes and pans. "In the beginning it was hard, but I tried to remember why I am here. Back home, when I faced tough times I could run away, but here you cannot. It grew my motivation and patience."
Rex Quino, a 29-year-old Filipino, said that besides books, they have also prepared surprises for children through cultural events which he helps put together.
Logos Hope will sail from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, where it will be open from February 7-19.
Visit the ship
Logos Hope will be open in Dubai at Port Rashid from 21 January until 5 February.
- Saturday-Wednesday: 1:00pm - 10:30pm
- Thursday and Fridays: 4:00pm - 10:30pm
- Sunday-Wednesday: 10:00am - 1:00pm (children, ladies and families only)
Note: A shuttle bus will take visitors from Port Rashid gate to the ship
Did you know?
40 million visitors from 160 countries have so far boarded the various ships, including Logos Hope, which are operated by GBA Ships e.V., an international charity based in Germany