Bienvenido a América latina!

Julie Knox | Colombia

Logos Hope has arrived in a new region of the world to begin a two-and-a-half-year tour of Latin America.

As the vessel came alongside in the port of Santa Marta, Colombia, crewmembers on the outer decks experienced the warmth and noise of a Latino welcome from those gathered on the quayside. A giant Colombian flag was being waved, people were cheering and singing and there were dancers wearing traditional costumes to add to the party atmosphere.

Logos Hope now plans to spend the next ten weeks in Colombia, calling at three different ports in the country. This is the first visit this ship has made here, and begins the long-awaited return of one of the organisation’s vessels to Latin America after a gap of 15-20 years.

Colombians wasted no time in making the most of the opportunity, with long queues of visitors waiting for buses to bring them inside the port to the ship’s berth.

There has been a transformation within Logos Hope in recognition of operating in a new language between now and 2020. All signs in visitor areas have been translated into Spanish, tannoy announcements and public events are bilingual and the crew has been practising conversational Spanish with Latino colleagues.

But the biggest alteration is in the bookfair. “Seventy per cent of the books on our shelves are now in Spanish,” said David Waugh (Scotland), the bookfair manager. “We received two shipping containers full from our handling centre in the USA; stock we’ve been purchasing in readiness over the last year.”

That’s not to say there aren’t still English books on offer. David wants to cater to Latin Americans who may have studied in North America or those who want to improve their English, and is finding that already, sales are higher than expected. He also pays tribute to his team for rearranging the ship’s main visitor area so quickly.

“I have the best team on the ship, but of course I’m biased!” he laughs. “They’re still learning, but they pulled together well to change everything over in three days so we could start in the new region in good shape.”

It’s been a busy few weeks for all on board Logos Hope. Next on the schedule is Christmas, with crewmembers’ excitement mounting about experiencing the atmosphere and traditions of a Colombian celebration.

Published: Friday, 22 December 2017
Credit: Julie Knox
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