Former President Jimmy Carter won’t be building Habitat for Humanity houses in Nepal next month after all. But it has nothing to do with his recent cancer diagnosis.
Habitat for Humanity International said Thursday it was canceling its trip due to shortage of fuel and essential supplies in the country. The recent announcement of a new constitution has sparked civic unrest and the inflow of critical supplies, such as gasoline, food, and medicine, into Nepal has slowed drastically. Habitat said that would reduce its ability to effectively and safely carry out its project, scheduled to take place from Nov. 1-6.
“As you can imagine, this was not a decision we made lightly and it is the option of last resort,” Habitat said in a somber statement. “President and Mrs. Carter support the decision to cancel this year’s project, though they also share our disappointment.”
Every year since 1984, Carter and his wife Rosalynn have given a week of their time to help Habitat build or improve existing homes around the world. This year’s 31st “Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project” was set to build 100 homes in the Chitwan District of Nepal, which was particularly devasted by the the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Nepal last spring.
When Carter held his extraordinary press conference in August to discuss his cancer diagnosis, he said he planned to cut back significantly on his workload and crushing travel schedule — but he still held out hope he could fit the Nepal build in among his treatments for brain melanoma.
Two Sundays ago, the former president beamed as he shared his good news with his Sunday school class at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains: He was about to undergo his third treatment. But his doctors had given him the go-ahed and the fourth treatment would “be delayed awhile because Rosalynn and I are going to Nepal” on the Habitat build.
On Thursday, the former president expressed his full support for Habitat and the people of Nepal.
“While I am disappointed that we are unable to build in Nepal due to such uncertain circumstances, Rosalynn and I understand and support Habitat’s decision,” Carter said in a statement. “We will keep the people of Nepal in our prayers and ask everyone to do the same. We look forward to our ongoing work with Habitat and continuing to help shine the light on the need for affordable housing.”
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