Francisco Santos, accompanied by his wife, Yuridia, and daughters Ana and Bianca, walked up the gangway without realising how significant their steps were. Francisco was in fact Logos Hope’s seven millionth visitor since the ship entered service, nine years ago.
Francisco and his family were received by the ship’s director, Pil-Hun Park (South Korea) and captain, Samuel Hils (Germany), who presented their special guest with a voucher worth over $150 USD to spend in the ship's bookfair.
Receiving applause, smiles and congratulations from crewmembers and fellow visitors to the ship, Francisco and his family were overwhlemed and lost for words. Finding his voice, Francisco declared, “This is an honour that I share with my family."
“Many congratulations for the mission that you are fulfilling,” he told Logos Hope's crew. “Books help us to understand things deeply, and many times they give us the answers we are looking for, and that allows us to make big decisions in our lives.”
The bookfair was full of people and the queue to enter the ship was so long that it was difficult to see where it ended. Over 100,000 visitors have walked up the gangway in only the first two weeks the vessel has been in port in Veracruz.
Among them was a homeless man who had difficulty walking, even with the help of a walking stick. “He took more than 30 minutes to get from the gate to the ship, so when we saw this we gave him a wheelchair,” said Khemraj Lakhan (Trinidad and Tobago). “All he wanted was to have books to give to other people. I gave him around 30 of our free literature booklets. Then we helped him down the gangway with the wheelchair and watched him walk away slowly.”
Other visitors had similar positive experiences. “I'm really in the world's largest floating bookstore!” exclaimed Soledad Alvarez. “It’s like I’m sitting in the middle of a beautiful garden, choosing the best flowers.”
With her eyes full of tears, another visitor, Maria Saida, sat observing the bookfair staff. “It's a privilege to be here with you,” said the 51-year-old woman. “I'm excited and very happy to be on this wonderful ship. This is a great bookfair and I would like to take many books back home with me.”