Who in the world is Nanci Hartland?
And why on earth is she writing a book
about Remarkable Giraffes?
"Sometimes I just want to spend my life patting flowers and smelling dogs... Then I remember someone extraordinary I met and loved along the way who had the courage to stick their necks out, make a difference and now ordinary just won't do."
The stereotype of a girl who is pregnant and married at 17 is usually poor and uneducated. I could have
stayed in that category. I chose not to. I finished high school by
getting a GED with one of the highest score ever given. I enrolled
in a few classes at the University of Maine, was a Brownie and Girl Scout Troop Leader,
coached my daughters soccer teams, taught my son and daughters to fish
and play baseball as I cared for an invalid mother.
I was a very young 33 when my parents and grandparents had
already passed. Sadly, I became a single Mom at 34. Through unusual circumstances, perseverance and passion I found a 200 year old historical home that my children and I restored with a 1% loan. Only 39 when my sweet
children strutted off onto their own hypnotized version of being adults and not
needing me anymore. I thought my role as a woman was to take care of my family
and too quickly that was over.
I had always lived in Maine and had never traveled anywhere. Pulling down the shades for the rest of their lives was my mother and mother-in-law's response to growing older. That was more "Empty Nest" than I wanted...
I began a habit of asking myself compelling questions. My answers would surprise me as deeper and more challenging questions would surface. The most important question became;
‘Am I honoring in myself what is truly important?’
I began asking God over and over to “Show me' what you want me to do with the rest of my life and I will gladly go do it…”
How could I know those words would change my life and lead me to a small village in Tanzania, East Africa named Chome? (Say "Show-me")
Africa: the most dangerous place in the world to be a woman
doing projects in Africa I opened my eyes to a world of struggle and
poverty. Yet, I saw their powerful resiliency living in unthinkable conditions,
with an inspiring spirit of hope, wisdom and gratitude for what is truly of value: family and community, amid much laughter, joy and an eagerness for new knowledge.
My journey became a Sacred Journal as I created a legacy of experiences and wisdom.
"Remarkable Giraffes ~ includes my story of many journeys into Africa as the people of Tanzania stole my heart and gave it back bigger.
"Our lives begin when we are willing to be vocal and act to change
any injustice we see in our surroundings." ~ Nanci Hartland
Over the years projects included
· 150 children in school
· 500 fruit tree seedlings
· Adult Literacy Program
· Hundreds of school books
· Thousands of vegetable seeds
· 5 miles of water pipeline in Chome, Tanzania
· 70 people in work for food program soup kitchen
· 6000 doses of a natural malaria solution to Borneo
· 2000 hug able toys to Tsunami children in Thailand
· 56 wells repaired after 4-year drought in Nkungi, Tanzania
· Green chalk board paint made school chalkboards readable again
In 2003, I discovered there are over
a million women and girls in Africa leaking feces and urine all the time after suffering the horror of Female Genital Mutilation or after giving birth in the bush without access to medical care.
I have held these girls while they cried and welcomed these women after they walked for days in bare feet to the hospital in Arusha, Tanzania, where Lifetracks sponsors operations with caring and dedicated surgeons that repair some of the damage. I have laughed and hugged them a month later when they left whole and happy wearing a new dress.
A donation of $350 dollars can repair this tragedy. It is called a Fistula. A hospital ward and a medical team are devoted to these women.
I survived three bouts of malaria, had an AK-47 aimed at my head and been charged by a lion and an elephant. I chanted with the Masai and learned to balance a basket on my head. I have walked into a park in Los Angeles at
2 AM and eaten with the homeless, walked into a refuge’ camp in Africa
and eaten a spoonful of rice with the hopeful. I have fallen to my knees and asked 'Why?', smiled at the rain, laughed out loud in the sun and asked "What's next?"
My family thought I was just a little crazy to put myself in jeopardy so far away from them. How could I get them to understand that staying where I was did
not allow the changes and the recovery from the trauma and the drama of my past? I want them to know that traveling the world and doing what I love is forever opening my heart in new and compelling ways...
Coming home to myself, I learned to share my
shameful secrets, the defining moments and the challenges I overcame to
create an extraordinary life a long way from where I started. The questions, the people and the challenges have grown me and humbled me far beyond where I began.
So I put together this book with a funny name, told my story, added eleven more stories of other ‘Remarkable Giraffes’, 35 questions and some wisdom
we all learn along the way.
Nanci Hartland is described as determined, sweet
and gently fierce. She is a writer, speaker, poet, international trainer, a World Wide Activist, Trailblazer
and the CEO, Founder, tree planter,
No.1 Fan and Volunteer for
Lifetracks Global Foundation, Inc.
© 2003 Nanci Hartland