J’can volunteer relishes role aboard ‘Logos Hope’
Chantell Jolly was a picture of passion and fulfillment as she spoke to The Gleaner yesterday aboard the Logos Hope at the Caribbean Cement Company Port in Rockfort, Kingston.
The world’s largest floating book fair was officially opened to the public yesterday and will run until March 15.
It was docked in the Second City, Montego Bay, earlier this month.
The 27-year-old Jamaican is among 400 volunteers from 60 countries and has been on board for two years.
In a bandana dress, she walked with pride to the platform to give a brief welcome as representatives paraded a few of the nationalities represented.
Jolly grew up in Harbour View, St Andrew, and attended the Convent of Mercy Academy (Alpha) before working in the loans department at Scotiabank.
“I felt like it was the direction that the Lord was leading me [to go] in because I am a Christian, and growing up, I knew at some point, I’d be involved in missions. I just didn’t know when,” she said.
Jolly said she had applied to Operation Mobilization (OM), the missionary operators of Logos Hope, but had not followed up on her application.
When the ship last visited in 2017, she felt a tug.
“I was going back and forth. Do I leave my job now and make this transition? It was a weird place to be in, but I felt like the Lord was calling me at that time,” she said.
“I have no regrets. I feel like this is the best thing I’ve done. It’s the happiest I’ve been if I’m being completely honest. I have that peace,” Jolly said.
She started her journey in the library when the ship was docked in Colombia then transitioned to the role of travel coordinator after six months, where she was responsible for booking flights and organising ground transportation for volunteers.
GOOD To BE HOME
Jolly is currently a human resources administrator, a position she has held for little more than two weeks, and she relishes the opportunity to sail to Jamaica.
“I get to reconnect with friends and family ... and then for friends and family to actually experience what I’m doing on board, it’s not something far and distant anymore,” she said.
“Just to be able to share our three goals on board – knowledge, health, and hope – in my home country, like I’ve done this in probably 15 other countries so far, but to be home is super, super special,” Jolly said.
Family, food, and fellowship with her church community are what she misses most, but she finds comfort knowing that she is where she’s supposed to be.
“I see God’s hand in everything that I am doing,” she said with a broad smile. “I want to focus more on the ministry aspect of stuff. In Jamaica, we are known more as the book ship, but we do so much more than that.”
Minister without portfolio with responsibility for Education, Youth and Information Karl Samuda, who spoke on behalf of the prime minister, said the Logos Hope “brings a true sense of hope to the shores of Jamaica”.
“It will enable so many of our Jamaican people, youngsters particularly, to have a better appreciation for the importance of being able to read,” Samuda said at the official opening ceremony aboard the vessel.
The minister expressed concern about the level of illiteracy among students.
“There are times when you see children being elevated in the school system, and you assume that they have reached a certain standard when, indeed, they have not,” he said, adding that children and adults alike face frustration when they see others reading and are unable to comprehend what was read.
Logos Hope offers more than 5,000 different book titles at affordable prices, including educational, children’s books, spiritual, academic texts, dictionaries, and atlases.
It also boasts a visitor experience deck, which introduces the vessel through a short movie and interactive display and an international café.
(Entry fee is waived for children under 12 years and adults over 65 years)
Tuesday to Saturday: 10 a.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Sunday: 2 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
(Closed on Monday)
100 units = J$300