Healing The World
Gustavo Parajón, Public Health and Peacemaking Pioneer
Revd Dr Gustavo Parajón, whom we met on his first visit to Greenbelt Festival back in 1987, was our first Nicaraguan teacher and inspiration.
Over the years, a friendship developed. Gustavo returned to the UK many times, and groups of Amos supporters visited Nicaragua, where we first encountered his work and met colleagues Gilberto Aguirre and Dámaris Albuquerque, both of whom had worked alongside Gustavo throughout his working life.
Determined to both honour and share Gustavo’s life and work more widely, a group of friends and family collaborated with Daniel Buttry, author and peacemaker, and Dámaris Albuquerque. The result, ‘Healing The World – Gustavo Parajón, Public Health and Peacemaking Pioneer’, is published in the US by Read The Spirit and available in the UK on Amazon. We hope it will also be on sale at Greenbelt 2023. Watch this space!
“This book is a fascinating and fast-reading chronicle of the life of a man who, more than anyone I’ve met, seemed to exemplify what it means to bring the teachings of Jesus Christ into the world.” Bruce Cockburn, singer-songwriter
Through the visits here and our visits to Nicaragua, we learned more about the wide-ranging work of Gustavo and his team, which included
- a huge public health campaign to reduce and eliminate preventable diseases through mass vaccination and health education;
- a grassroots response to the terrible earthquake in 1972 which resulted in aid and development reaching those left with nothing, and an ongoing commitment by churches to work together to improve the lives of the poor – CEPAD;
- a close and successful involvement in the peace process to end the Contra war of the 80s and to reconcile communities and challenge enmity;
- two campaigns, international in scope, but which impact disproportionally the poorest communities in Nicaragua – ending crippling debt (Jubilee 2000) and facing the effects of climate change with action (ongoing and our current focus).
Peace process: Gustavo Parajón (right) in peace talks during the Contra war in the 1980’s
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Gustavo Parajón was undoubtedly an extraordinary man. He was a doctor with a Master’s in Public Health who could have worked anywhere in the US, but chose to go back to Nicaragua to serve those in more need. He was also a Baptist minister, husband, father and grandfather, and mentor to many – particularly the young.
Singer-songwriter Bruce Cockburn contributes to the book:
“One of the ways God has shown up in my life, bearing gifts, is in the people I’ve been brought to cross paths with. Gustavo Parajón was one of those. He radiated a thoughtful kindness. Without pretence or any kind of showiness, he seemed to tune in automatically to the essence of whoever and whatever he had to deal with.
Though I didn’t know him well, I got to enjoy his company on several occasions, in Nicaragua and the UK. This book is a fascinating and fast-reading chronicle of the life of a man who, more than anyone I’ve met, seemed to exemplify what it means to bring the teachings of Jesus Christ into the world.”