The couple made the opening ceremony for the new project Sunday night, and Carter quipped: “Well, first of all, I want to explain my black eye.”
He said he tripped and hit his head on a sharp edge while getting ready for church and needed 14 stitches. “But I had a number one priority and that was to come to Nashville and build houses,” added Carter, who said he’ll be doing a “limited” building schedule this week.
“We’ll be doing the best we can,” said Carter, who explained that he and the former first lady will be working on the porches of each of the 21 homes built in Nashville this week so that all of the Habitat houses “will have something we built.”
The Carters have been decades-long supporters of and volunteers for Habitat for Humanity, which constructs or renovates homes for low income individuals in the U.S. and around the globe.
Carter celebrated his 95th birthday last week, making him the first former president to reach that age. George H.W. Bush died last year at the age of 94. Carter was treated for melanoma, a kind of skin cancer, that had spread to his brain and liver in 2015, and had a hip replaced earlier this year.
Rosalynn Carter is 92; the couple has been married for 73 years.
Besides continuing to participate in Habitat for Humanity, Carter teaches Sunday school and remains active in the Carter Center, a nonprofit that largely focuses on public health, election monitoring and conflict resolution.
In an appearance for the center last month Carter said he was proud the U.S. participated in no foreign wars during his tenure as president from 1977-81.
“We have been at war more than 226 years. We have been at peace for about 16 years,” said Carter, a World War II veteran. “The United States is very deeply inclined to go to war.”
Carter hasn’t yet endorsed a Democratic presidential candidate. But he said last month that reelecting President Donald Trump would be “a disaster.”
“I’m going to keep an open mind” about a Democratic candidate, he said at a town hall sponsored by the Carter Center. “One of the major factors I will have in my mind is who can beat Trump. I think it will be a disaster to have four more years of Trump.”
This story was updated with Carter’s appearance in Nashville for the opening ceremony of the Carter Work Project of Habitat for Humanity.