Doulos, the floating bookstore


Recently, I took my daughter to visit the big ship, well, that was my girl’s definition of the MV Doulos ship that came to Kota Kinabalu city from 30th August to 20th September 2009. It was the ship’s 6th visit to Kota Kinabalu and it’s 600th port of call.

My girl was very excited as it was her first time going on board a ship while it was my 3rd visit on board this floating bookstore. Every few years, you will find the ship docked at the Sabah Port in Kota Kinabalu and the Doulos will be just about the largest ship in port. The first time I went on board the ship, I was nine and just as excited as my little girl. When the ship returned the 2nd time, I was already a teenager and I found a really good poetry book which I still have with me today. On the 3rd third visit, I went there as a mother and managed to find a very appropriate book for my age and my duty as a mother… a cookbook!

MV Doulos in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

MV Doulos in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

History Of MV Doulos
MV Doulos is a record holder in Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s oldest active ocean-going passenger ship. The ship was built in 1914 and launched on 22nd August 1914 as the Medina, a freighter. In 1948, the Medina was bought by a Panamanian company, was renamed Roma, and served its purpose of first transporting pilgrims to Rome, then carrying emigrants to Australia. Then in 1952, it was renamed Franca C and was remodeled into a first class luxury liner. Finally, on 3rd June 1978, it was renamed for the 4th time, as the Doulos, and it started its new role as a vessel to bring knowledge, help and hope to the people of the world.

The Ship, The Crew and Everything else
The best thing of all is that we get to meet the crew and staff of more than 40 different nationalities, all at the same time. It’s pretty amazing that they all live and work together harmoniously on board and they are always so cheerful and friendly every time I see them, and I really mean that from my 3 visits over the last 19 years!

The books they had are mostly children books, religious books, cookery books and a section that offered books about subjects like science, sports, hobbies, arts, economics and medicine. Besides books, there were also cds and souvenirs like caps, pens, pencils, erasers, stickers and mugs for sale. The price of the things sold here is calculated in units (RM 8 for 100 units).

When a visit to the bookstore is an adventure!

When a visit to the bookstore is an adventure!

I honestly think that the books here are slightly cheaper compared to the bookstores in Kota Kinabalu. Having kids around the house makes me a regular customer at the local bookstores, either I’m there checking out for new books or I’m there doing my surveys or comparing prices. So, I know the books on the Doulos are worth buying. For instance, I bought a Winnie the Pooh stationery set with a sticker book and a coloring book for my daughter for only RM40. It would cost me about RM69 elsewhere. But what’s most important is that we are buying for charity’s sake because they give donations in form of books, medical aid, food and clothing to orphanages and to those in need, and also often help in construction of schools and churches around the world. It always makes you happy to know that the money you have spent will end up doing good at the end of the day. Bon voyage!

This post was written by Princess Trinity, who has spent years in the Sabah tourism industry, who in her spare time tries out Chinese cooking recipes and bakes cookies.

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This entry was posted on Saturday, October 3rd, 2009 at 2:00 pm and is filed under Living Here. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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