Ship of books also a haven of inspiration
Volunteers on 'Logos Hope' thrived while doing goodThe world's largest floating book fair, the Logos Hope, has given an opportunity to young people to fulfil their passion to work as a volunteer helping other people. Indeed, it has been an inspiration for many who signed on for the experience.
Working on the ship with around 400 crewmembers from about 55 different countries and travelling to many different places, has been a rare opportunity to learn about other cultures and countries.
The ship has visited 43 countries and welcomed more than 2.6 million visitors. It has sold books from February 21 until today (March 11) at the Klong Toei port. It carries around 5,000 titles - more than 500,000 volumes - covering a wide range of subjects. Thai books have also been sold there.
Marcel Friess, 24, a volunteer from Germany and Cat Tse, 26, a British-born Chinese volunteer have got an inspiration to continue working for people.
Marcel, who is part of the advanced preparation team that does arrangements needed to happen before the ship arrives in each country, said working on the ship was an inspiration for him as he travelled to many states, from well-developed countries to very needy countries.
"We've seen great differences between the poor and rich and it has been an inspiration for myself to do something not only to look at the people, but to see the needs (of them), to try to change and give them hope in situations there," he said.
Marcel quit his previous job as a chemist and has volunteered on the ship for about three years and sailed to more than 20 countries.
"The three years of working here have had an impact on my life. Before I worked as a chemist and I enjoyed working in chemistry. But the reason why I came to the ship was that I wanted to work and do something for people and I set my purpose in life not only to work for money but for people and to do something for them.
Cat, who has been with Logos Hope for one year and visited four countries, said she had really enjoyed working as a videographer - her first duty before she was appointed a media relations officer. She learnt a lot about video work. She wanted to help other non-profit organisations, especially small groups to produce videos and post them on websites to raise people's awareness for different things.
"People go through life expecting to do certain things, like they have education, graduate, have a good job, get married and have children. I just sought an opportunity to be stretch and to grow," she said.
"They really believe in you and really give you opportunities to learn and to grow. This is what really changes people (who have volunteered on the ship)."
She said she had learned how to talk more in public, and learned more about patience and leadership. Also, learning different cultures from people on the ship was changing the way she matures. We were volunteers, but we also worked very hard on the ship.
"I can see change from myself. When I came here, I didn't have really have as much confidence in myself. I didn't think that I could do the things I can do (now). We have people who are just 18 years of age and they came here straight from high school. They work in different departments, like the deck and engine departments despite having no skills, but they are trained by professional people. It's just amazing how they grow, how they change and have confidence in themselves," Cat said.
The volunteers shared their experience on the ship with The Nation during a visit last week when more than a hundred visitors crowded at the ship's book fair, walking around to choose books from many different shelves.
Yuttakorn Kriengparinyakij, 28, a Thai who finished a two-year mission as a volunteer on the ship, provided special help to coordinate with Thai agencies to facilitate the ship's arrival in Thailand. He said working for Logos Hope was a good way to fulfil his passion of working for people.
"I really like helping people and the ship has a team to go to communities and help locals there; for example, to build and paint houses in many communities in many nations," he said.
Yuttakorn said he had learned to accept the way people from different countries were and live with them in unity.
During his volunteer period, he visited 17 countries.
Although parents of these volunteers felt worried at first when they decided to leave home for a long time to work on the ship, finally individuals such as Yuttakorn have been able to prove that their decision was worth supporting.