Gringo Parade by Jonathan Ojanpera is a book I highly recommend to anyone who enjoys not only an adventure based on a true story but one told through the eyes of a young person. Although published a couple decades after the original experience, one can tell that the memory is as alive in the author’s mind as the experience was for a teenage missionary fresh out of high school.
This is a novella about the group of wealthy missionaries “Nick” is part of and their journey to a poor village in Costa Rica. Even though he is there to help the villagers with their religious endeavors, he IS a young American man, and as such makes the journey as much about filling his needs as he does fulfilling his duties.
Of course Nick isn’t alone in this journey as he is traveling with many other young people including the impressionable and somewhat naïve Tom who provides a nice contrast to the more worldly nature of the main character. And it is this worldly nature that brings Nick together with a Jose, a Costa Rican young man who speaks the Universal language of a “good time”. Naturally there is a main authority figure in this story in the person of the charismatic Pastor Buckley who appears to want to “heal” more than just the Costa Ricans…
From the moment I picked up the book, I literally did not put it down until I closed the back cover. I found myself completely absorbed in the entire experience, from empathetic connections to the characters to being able to ‘see’ in my mind’s eye the sights of world’s I have yet to experience personally. I must say that one day I look forward to enjoying Costa Rican coffee “as black as smut” and learning about the “Tao of banana trees”. By the time I finished this tale, I felt I had actually been a part of the journey and that the journey is now a part of my memory.
I say it is well worth the investment of time and money for you to get your copy of Gringo Parade so I direct you to the website of the author www.johnnyojanpera.wordpress.com where there is no passport required for this journey, only the desire to enjoy the trip.
Annette Rochelle Aben