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World’s biggest floating book fair welcomed in Namibia

WINDHOEK (Xinhua) -- Namibian national Benizo Smith Junior, 24, is aboard the floating book fair, Logos Hope, that docked at Walvis Bay port, Namibia on July 15.

The 132-meter-long ship is laden with more than 5,000 titles and manned by 400 volunteers from 60 countries. Most of the books are rare educational and Christian titles.

Operated by Gute Bücher für Alle charity of Germany, Logos Hope GBA Ships.

Derived from the ancient Greek thinkers, the name Logos can loosely be translated into “God Working in the World.”

The floating book fair has been sailing around the world since 1970, during which time it has docked in 160 countries and saw more than 45 million people access it.

Although this is the first time Logos Hope has docked in Namibia. Its sister ship - the Doulos - was here in 2002 when more than 12,000 people went aboard to view the literature in six days.

Nazareth Bonilla of Spain, who is one of the volunteers, said the crew will assist Namibia in a variety of goodwill projects.

She listed eye testing, renovating as well as equipping a school library apart from supplying water purifiers.

Namibia’s vice president Nickey Iyambo, who officially welcomed the floating book fair, could not have put it any better when he referred to the crew as “friends.”

“Namibia is a friend to all and an enemy of none. We welcome you as friends. You are not visitors, but we declare you as friends,” Iyambo said.

So impressed was Iyambo that he lauded the diversity of the crew that is “working together for the common good of the mankind”, which he likened to the Namibian tribes that are co-existing.

“Usually, youngsters hang around and wait for things to happen, or they try and make a living. Instead, here we have hundreds of them volunteering their labour and life to help others around the world. This is extraordinary,” he said.

But Smith Jnr, a youth pastor with the Living Water Family at Walvis Bay, is not one of those who wait for things to happen.

Smith Jnr joined the Logos Hope crew in May this year as one of the book fair workers.

He got the opportunity to be part of the 400 crew through his father who also brought him a brochure about the world’s largest floating book fair.

“When my father got the brochure about the ship, I knew this was my opportunity,” he said. “Serving on board is the best experience of my life.”

Saying he enjoys working among people from different walks of life, Smith Jnr also said the fact that the Logos Hope docked at his home town is very exciting.

On the first weekend, more than 7,000 visitors visited the Logos Hope after hundreds others had welcomed the ship when it docked.

The Logos Hope will depart Walvis Bay on July 28 for Libreville, Gabon.

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