“I Am Going Where I Belong,” stirring coming-of-age tale about Haitian history
The main character, Hans Leger hails from a privileged family in Haiti, knowing only the wealth and luxury. When his chauffeur makes a stop in downtown, Leger sees the harsh realities of life: poverty, hunger, despair, piles of waste mounting, infested with flies, and an overall sense of chaos. Unfortunately, many of these realities still exist in Haiti today.
In the midst of a democratic presidential election, the victor will inherit a torn country which is battling a cholera epidemic—that has already killed thousands living in remote areas— and is still in the recovery and reconstruction stage after the devastating earthquake. Described in more vivid and grim terms in the book, Hans Lindor sums up Haiti’s existence in one sentence: “The existence of the Haitian people seems based on despair, vicissitudes, and destitution.”
I am Going Where I Belong revolves around the cold-blooded murder of Hans Leger’s father and gang rape of his mother. Removed from their wealthy status, Hans and his family move to Florida where they are essentially the same people that Hans Leger watched from the car in downtown Haiti—destined to poverty. Surrounded by violence, poverty, and racism, Hans manages to launch his writing career and lift his family out of poverty.
Written masterfully by Hans Lindor, one of the moving images of the book—at the beginning—describes Hans Leger looking on as a fifteen-year-old girl is forced into prostitution. Though this is a fictional tale, it is not far from reality. The Miami Herald reports that earthquake survivors are being smuggled into the Dominican Republic and used as prostitutes, drug peddlers, and beggars. It is astonishing to see innocent individuals at the mercy of their grim circumstances. The question arises, however, that if the Haitian Diaspora continues, who will be left to save the nation and restore peace and order?
Despite the tragedy-filled events of the book, I Am Going Where I Belong sends the message of hope, positive thinking, and overcoming adversity and hardship. The fact is that many Haitians have fled the country in fear for their lives. Democracy is practically invisible while the state of nation has been unchanged for decades. To this day, it remains vulnerable, treacherous, and violent.
Ultimately, I Am Going Where I Belong demonstrates that one can overcome social hardships. An award-winning novelist, screenwriter and playwright, Hans Lindor uses his extenuating life experiences to advocate against violence—both in the book as well as public speaking stints in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and Florida. His message is clear and simple: never let racial barriers, poverty, or hopelessness rob you of your dreams and prevent you from achieving greatness.