After a 13-day-voyage across the Atlantic Ocean from the Caribbean to West Africa, Logos Hope has arrived in Freetown and her crew is excited to set foot on another continent.
The visit marks the fourth to Sierra Leone for the organisation’s vessels and the second for Logos Hope, which last docked in the capital city in 2010.
At the official opening of the bookfair to the public, the ship’s community welcomed Emmanuel Allie, Global Partnership for Education (GPE) Coordinator, who came on behalf of the Minister of Education, David Moinina Sengeh, as well as more than 70 other distinguished guests.
Logos Hope director, Randy Grebe (USA) told the audience about a young boy he became friends with during his last visit eleven years ago: the local boy took him on a memorable ride in a cart and had a dental problem the ship’s dentist could assist with. Randy told the gathering, “That's why we're here: to become friends to the people of this nation.”
Concerning the recent explosion in which 144 people died and more than 100 were injured, Randy offered condolences on behalf of the ship's community, saying, “It brings us to our knees in the sense that we never know our next moment; that's why I seek to lead our community to make every day a good day.” Aiming to make the best of every day and an impact among the people of Sierra Leone, Randy said, “We will be sharing help… We have over 140 teams going off the ship to different parts of the nation.”
Crewmembers have been reaching out to people affected by the explosion even before the ship was declared open, supporting the ongoing work of a non-governmental organisation. They will also visit churches and prisons, support building projects and reach out to rural areas during their visit to Sierra Leone – as well as providing quality discount literature on board.
Delighted to have the bookfair in his city, Mr Allie said, “I hope we can live here understanding the value of books, the power of education, the need for us to read to young kids… and continue to build on the great equaliser which is education. Let me repeat the pillars of the ship, which are knowledge, help and hope. I think if we can find those values in us, as this ship represents, we can find the capacity to build a country that is sustainable, that is lasting, that is longing, and that is based on ‘Logos’.” [In theology, this means the Word of God].
Logos Hope’s bookfair is open Tuesday to Sunday, 9am to 11am for students, and from 11am to 6pm to the public, until 16 December.