Name: Nancy Huff
Book Title: Danger in the Desert: One Woman’s Quest for Truth and Justice
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What is your book about?
Nancy Huff once was a mild-mannered school teacher who set out to make good on an innocent commitment to a group of stranded Sahrawi refugees who live in the middle of the Sahara Desert. In the process, she unravels the mystery of a missing ocean container full of humanitarian aid and ends up in the offices of U.S. officials, working with ambassadors, and testifying before the United Nations.
Naïve no more, Nancy Huff pleads with the world to return a stolen generation of Sahrawis, caught between two political ideologies that have held them in exile for over 40 years. Susceptible to infiltration by terrorists, the Sahrawi situation poses a threat for the world.
Nancy demonstrates how one person can make a difference in the quest for truth and asks her audience to make a difference with her as she searches for truth and justice.
I mainly wanted to write my story because I felt that it was so unusual that no one would believe me if I didn’t tell what this group of Sahrawi refugees had endured, and what I had long suspected and later knew as fact. Who would hold accountable those who stole from the most vulnerable—the women, children, handicapped, and elderly? Someone had to speak up for them.
Often, those who give humanitarian aid do so with a willing and giving heart, but when that help goes missing, and those who are in need never receive the intended assistance, who will speak up then? I had to say something.
Can you describe your writing process?
I’m an avid reader—mostly nonfiction. While I read some books on Kindle, I like to hold a physical book in my hand. As I read, I underline parts that are important to me. I make notes in the margins. I put a blank piece of paper in a book that I’m reading and use it as a bookmark and for jotting down notes that won’t fit in the margins. Then, I write. When I’m on a project, I set deadlines for myself; usually, they are deadlines that come because of my travel schedule. I base my word count per day based on how many days I have until my deadline.
For seven years, I belonged to a wonderful writing critique group. The group consisted of women who were on a mission to write. We didn’t gossip. We didn’t talk about our latest medical procedure; we wrote. We encouraged each other and held each other accountable to write every day—even when inspiration wasn’t there, even when the kids were screaming and the TV was blaring. I cried when that group disbanded. I absolutely love being with women who are on a mission.
How did you come to do what you’re doing today?
I’ve always loved the excitement of going to new places and meeting people of different cultures. That love of travel, coupled with my deep desire to help others who are in need made me want to help the most helpless and in particular, those who are in hard to reach places. When I quit my teaching job in 1997, I started a nonprofit, Teach the Children International to help children in need. I started out garnering prayer support for public schools. I also worked to set up schools in Africa. My first school to help start was for Sudanese refugees in Cairo, Egypt.In 1999, I was invited to visit the Sahrawi refugees who live in the Sahara Desert near a little military town of Tindouf, Algeria, I was taken by their hospitality. Invited into their tents and their hearts, it was only natural that I would go back home and garner support and humanitarian aid for them in their time of need.
Can you describe a typical day in your life?
My days at home are fairly mundane. I’m up at 6:00 a.m. I love the quietness of the house and use the first hour of the day for personal devotions. I then read something pertaining to a project on which I am currently working. After that, I go to my upstairs office and work. I write, answer emails, work on projects. I write grants, so if I have a grant in the works, I also have a deadline for completing it.
What do you most enjoy about what you do?
I have a sense of destiny. That what I’m doing is making a difference, even if it’s in the smallest way—I always aim to make a difference for the good in this world.
Are there any people and/or books that have inspired you along your journey?
There are some books that I read over and over again, like Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl and Success Principles: How to Get from Where You are to Where You Want to Be by Jack Canfield. I like to read autobiographies of people who have accomplished great feats or who have overcome insurmountable obstacles in their lives.
Can you share something that people may be surprised to learn about you?
Every year for the past 14 years, I have spoken at the United Nations on the issue of the Sahrawi refugees.
What’s next for you?
I keep on writing and marketing the books I’ve already published. I’m in the editing stage of a book about growing up in the small town of Magnolia, Arkansas. I will return to Western Sahara next month to visit some schools, do a backpack distribution for the refugee children, and attend some meetings on the issue of Western Sahara.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I’ve written four other books:
- Praying for Children, Teens and Young Adults in the 10/40 Window (YWAM Publishing, co-authored with Beverly Pegues)
- Taking the Mountain of Education: A Strategic Prayer Guide for Transforming America’s Schools
- Safety Zone: Prayers for Schools
- How to Create Passive Income with Rental Property
I’m so grateful for the encouragement I’ve received along the way in my writing. I couldn’t have written anything without the help of my husband and strong women who had a sense of purpose and who included me in their circle of friends.