Logos Hope has officially opened her doors to the public in Antofagasta, her first port call of four in Chile. The book ship had in fact arrived three days earlier, and during two days of ‘soft opening’ had already welcomed 12,000 visitors aboard.
Representing the vessel’s leadership, Captain Jon Helmsdal (Faroe Islands) and Randy Grebe (USA) welcomed their guests of honour, complimenting the diversity of Chile and describing it as a place which displays two extremes of nature: a desert in the north and ice and glaciers in the south. But despite their desire to see these wonders, the leaders expressed their greater excitement to meet Chilean people.
Intendente Marco Antonio Diaz Muñoz was the chief dignitary. Described as 'governor of the governors' by Logos Hope's partnerships director, Randy Grebe, the ship's volunteers and assembled visitors learned that Intendente Diaz was appointed by the President of the Republic to represent him as a delegate of the executive power in his region.
“Thank you for choosing our region as the entrance gate to our country," Intendente Diaz said to the vessel's crew. "You made no mistake, you have chosen well. From today onwards, you have allies to share knowledge, help and hope with our people. God bless Logos Hope, her crewmembers and your beautiful cause,” he told the packed function room on board.
Following the ceremonial cutting of the ribbon to declare the bookfair deck open, Randy walked the Intendente through The Journey of Life, which is an interactive display illustrating the story of the prodigal son.
After a series of misfortunes leading to the loss of all he had, an image illustrated the son remembering the life he used to have in his father’s home, where he never lacked anything. At the sight of this image, the guest of honour exclaimed, “Yes; reflection is the first step towards transformation!”
Throughout the story, the governor commented on the symbolism of the universally-relevant story. It ends with the son returning home to beg his father's forgiveness and ask for a position as an employee. Before letting his son finish his request, the father welcomes his lost son back into the family and expresses his love lavishly.
The Journey of Life on board Logos Hope brings home a timeless picture of failure, forgiveness and reconciliation. “This is our story!” said Intendente Diaz, with a smile.