Go Back To Your Country! – Chapter 1

Let me tell you how excited I am to spend this time with you over the next 24 episodes to cover this book chapter by chapter, share some background information, answer and ask questions to make this experience not only enjoyable but also valuable. Education expert, Dr. Samuel Betances said “It is not about how many books you go through, but how many books go through you”. Isn’t that thought provoking way to approach books? This sentence somehow stuck with me and impressed upon me the value of reading a book. Reading a book not only for the information it provides but it’s ability to transform the reader. It is about allowing the text to enter into our lives. The type of readings that makes us reflect upon our personal walk in life.This is what I like to do together with you, with my book. It’s kind of like an interactive readers guide.

So in these next 24 episodes I will give you as the author of this book a guide in how to navigate through the stories, literally. I intentionally wrote the book in very easy-to-understand English, so this is not me explaining to you what I wrote, but a form explanation on how to read it, maybe how you can take your own story and extract something beautiful from it, like I did.

So let’s begin.

When I first started this project I did not have chapter 1 as you see now, an intense story pulled out of my pre-teen years and made into a focal point to open up my book. I also did not have the title of this book. What I did was start somewhere around what is currently chapter 2 and formed the stories I wanted to tell from my upbringing to establish an overall point. I wanted to share a chronological account of events shaped my life, the key events that transformed me. So what I did, I started writing and kept going until I had a good draft. After writing the early draft, I realized that I needed to anchor my book to an overall theme that can be relevant to readers today. Around that time I recalled an experience that would have been positioned somewhere in the middle of my book, and brought it to the front to establish my theme.

The first story is of my pre-teens, a very defining moment for myself, when I was “jumped” on the streets while doing a delivery for my boss. Most people might assume, as I did when they hear the word “jumped” that someone tried to steal my money. No. They told me what they wanted and it wasn’t money: Go back to your country. Even though this is not the story of how everything began, it was still a very memorable event in my young life. As I dive deeper into the saga of that day with you, you will learn that this 12-year-old boy, already working, treated horribly by his boss really didn’t have an easy life. I chose to start my memoir-style book with this day, this time, this story because I wanted to give you something impactful, something to remember. As you read about this boy and the daily frustrations he has to face, as he works at his below minimum wage job at only age 12, you might ask yourself, why is he even working? And you also want to consider why this boy was targeted and beaten while making a delivery, why is this story so important that it had to go first? That it even yielded the title to this book? What value as readers, can we extract from this? I want us to open up our hearts to the subtext of the handpicked stories and dig deep into the meaning behind each one of them.

Before I conclude my introduction of the first chapter I’d like us to reflect on a few questions:

  1. Why is this writing relevant?
  2. Why is the story of the first chapter important in this time and age?
  3. How do I feel about this 12-year-old boy?
  4. How do I feel about the children that jumped him?
  5. How do I feel about the abusive boss, exploiting child labor?
  6. How do I feel about immigrants?
  7. How does reading this first chapter change my perspective on immigrants?
    And if I am an immigrant:
  8. What hope do I find in reading another immigrant’s story of survival and success?

So let’s hang out together for the next 24 episode and take an intimate look into the mind behind the story, perhaps we can experience transformation!