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Kenya: Locals get rare experience with world's largest floating book fair ship

Ports Engagement Director Nidhin Sebastian poses for a picture on board of the Logos Hope vessel, the world's largest floating bookfair   -  
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ANWAR AMRO/AFP or licensors


The world's largest floating book fair, with a wide-ranging collection of more than 5,000 books, has been docked at the Kenyan port city of Mombasa for the past seven weeks, providing avid readers with an exceptional opportunity for learning and discovery.

The MV Logos Hope arrived at the east African country after a stint at the Seychelles Islands. Visitors arriving from shore can freely explore its selection, and the vessel's crew are confident they will find something that piques their interest.

"I believe that there is a book for everybody that visits the ship," said Constanza Figueroa, a staff member of the advance preparation team on the MV Logos Hope.

According to Alessandro Dal Casro, a media relations officer aboard the ship, keeping solid relations with book suppliers helps make the venture feasible.

"We partner up with different companies. What happens is they give us a discount on different kinds of books. We also have the opportunity of getting some books for a very reduced price, so we can also sell them for a better price," he said.

Others on board stressed that the extraordinary vessel redefines the concept of a stationary book stores by embarking on a global adventure. More than 50 different nationalities make up the volunteer crew aboard the vessel.

However, being away from home for months or even years does pose its fair share of difficulties.

"Personally, I miss my home. That is one of the challenges. I miss my family. I'm looking forward to seeing them as well," Figueroa said.

"So many countries, so many different backgrounds. You will imagine that it's hard, but that's how we share, also hope, trying to learn from each other and trying to, maybe just thinking from another perspective, so that makes you grow so much," she added.

The historic arrival of the MV Logos Hope was a welcomed development among educationally-minded Kenyans.

"I think it's a great and unique way to promote literacy. I give it a thumbs up because it draws interest and people like to come a place where they have not gone before, especially being on a ship," said Edward Ouda, a visitor to the ship.

Just eight months ago, a state of the art floating University called the MV World Odyssey also hit the country's shores.

The MV Logos Hope has visited over 200 ports since it commenced operations in 1970. From Mombasa, it will visit more ports along Africa's east coast, all in a bid to share knowledge and hope wherever it docks.

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