Monday, December 8, 2008

Aboard The MV Doulos

If there was a ship that was built before the Titanic, which is still on sail today, wouldn't you love to come aboard even for just a quick visit?

For us, the invitation came by way of a friend from church, who mentioned that a ship bearing Christian books for sale was docked in HarbourFront.

We met at VivoCity after work on a rainy Friday evening and had a quick dinner before being led by three of the ship's volunteer crew members towards where the ship was berthed.

We didn't expect the ship to be moored right out of VivoCity, just outside the Modesto's and the Carnivore restaurants.


It was Kirsten, one of the Doulos's crew, who got us on board and toured us around the ship. We went from one room to another as she told us bits and pieces of the ship's long and colorful history.


The MV Doulos, it turns out, is not only the world's largest floating book fair but also the world's oldest ocean-going passenger ship. It was built in 1914 at Newport News, USA and has been sailing around the world for the past 94 years. Before being christened anew as Doulos, it had been previously known as Franca C (1952-1977), Roma (1948-1952) and Medina (1914-1948), and aside from the USA, it has been registered in three other countries -- Malta, Italy and Panama. It has served as a cruise liner, migrant carrier and a freighter.

It was in 1977 that GBA Ships e.V., a private, non-profit, charitable organization registered in Germany, purchased the Doulos to serve its current purpose. Hence, the letters GBA -- painted on the ship's funnel, which stands for Good Books for All.

Apart from the Doulos' legendary tale, Kirsten also told us about its 350-strong volunteer crew and their purpose of bringing knowledge, help and hope to the people of the world. They go from port to port to supply vital literature resources, encourage inter-cultural understanding, train young people for more effective life and service, promote greater global awareness, provide practical aid and share a message of hope in God wherever there is opportunity.

The volunteers come from 40 countries and have chosen to dedicate two years of their lives to be on board. A lot of them are singles but it is not uncommon for entire families to join as well.


We got to meet some of them as we walked along the hallways, the main lounge, the dining room and even the laundry area. We caught some of them doing a dance rehearsal.


It was a short and sweet tour that ended with a visit to the book fair. We were surprised to find that the Doulos not only offered Christian books but also covered a wide range of subjects, such as science, sports, hobbies, cookery, the arts, economics and medicine. There was even a children's section.

How could we resist buying?

For more info regarding the Doulous, or how to join as a crew, or ways to give support, visit their website at http://www.mvdoulos.org/.

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2 Comments:

At December 13, 2009 at 3:08 PM , Anonymous Harmen said...

Doulos will be decommissioned!
www.douloslastport.com

Everyone is welcome to visit and meet the international crew, experience the different cultures onboard, and discover the wide range of English books which are all on sale, discounted by 25% - 75%. Everything must go! The ship will be located at VivoCity, Harbour Front.

 
At December 13, 2009 at 3:20 PM , Anonymous Harmen said...

Doulos will be decommissioned!
www.douloslastport.com

Everyone is welcome to visit and meet the international crew, experience the different cultures onboard, and discover the wide range of English books which are all on sale, discounted by 25% - 75%. Everything must go! The ship will be located at VivoCity, Harbour Front.

 

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