The warmest welcome and cultural exchange in Benghazi
Logos Hope welcomed more than 37,000 visitors on board the bookfair in the port of Benghazi, Libya. Crewmembers were excited to connect with the citizens and were overwhelmed by the warmth and hospitality they received.
Ship director Randy Grebe (USA) explained, “Many Libyans were excited to meet foreigners. It is highly unusual for them as there is no tourism and very few come from nations far away. With nearly 60 nationalities, this created a special atmosphere for inter-cultural exchange.”
The mutual curiosity about other cultures was explored through many conversations as well as cultural performances.
One visitor said, “It's nice to see people from different backgrounds coming together and giving a great show. It was nice meeting people from all around the world as that's something I don't get to do every day and it was really good that everyone got to show their culture – us included. We showed our culture to you and you showed your cultures to us. It was really fun!”
Ibrahim, a Benghazi citizen, who visited the ship not only once but twice, said, “The people who work here are very lovely people and help you with everything. The fact that you're spreading knowledge around the world and keep doing it with smiling faces and that vibe that you got here [is great].”
About the nine-day-long stay in August, Director of Moral Guidance Department of the Libyan National Army (LNA), Major General Khaled al-Mahjoub said, “The visit of this ship was a big event, for its entrance in the city of Benghazi and to send a clear message: Benghazi is a city of peace and of culture… When we have seen all the nations on your ship, we have seen the world through you. I want to tell you that you have all our love. We are delighted to have you with us.”
A lecturer from the Benghazi university also stated, “We welcome you and were happy to have you around in Libya. I want to say that you're welcome back again – and then to your second home and second country, your second city, Benghazi.”