Our Visit with President Jimmy Carter

“Each meeting occurs at the precise moment for which it was meant. Usually, when it will have the greatest impact on our lives.”
― Nadia Scrieva, Fathoms of Forgiveness

I don’t believe in coincidences. Life is serendipitous. We have always been lucky in making fortunate discoveries completely by accident. Such was our day today. We rode our motorcycle into Moyogalpa this morning to meet some friends at the Corner House for breakfast. “Why is town a buzz with military carrying AK-47s this morning?” Ron asked. No one knew why. Cindi and Alan passed a motorcade on their way into town to meet us. There were police and military stationed all over the island at the most popular tourist stops. Hmmm….

Robinson will know. He always knows everything. “Robinson, what’s happening on the island today?” I asked when I called him. “President Jimmy Carter is visiting with his family. He just got off the ferry and he’s headed to Santo Domingo for lunch at Villa Paraiso,” he said. This was an opportunity I was NOT going to miss.

I bought some local gifts at the Corner House…a jar of homemade peanut butter ( a perfect gift for a former peanut farmer), a jicote carving, a small jar of turmeric, handmade soap with neem insect repellant, and a homemade gift bag. “Where can I find a note card in town?” “I’ve never seen any note cards, but Arcia’s has some nice postcards,” Gary, the owner of the Corner House responded.

I walked quickly to Arcia’s on my mission as a cultural ambassador of Ometepe Island. Rapidly, I wrote a little note on the postcard welcoming President Carter to Ometepe Island. Then, we jumped on our motorcycles and zipped across the island to Santo Domingo. Forty minutes later we arrived at Villa Paraiso.

Now this is the serendipitous moment: Just as we arrived, President Carter and his family were leaving. I couldn’t help myself…I ran up and hugged him. I didn’t think about the guys with the AK-47s. I just wanted to share my enthusiasm for Ometepe Island with him.
meeting Jimmy CarterHe graciously accepted my gifts and was happy to pose with us for pictures.
gifts for Jimmy(1) 2When I told him about the homemade peanut butter, he asked Ron many questions about where it was grown and how it was processed…in fluent Spanish!!
Ron and JimmyAlan took our pictures and was thrilled to shake hands with President Carter.
alan meets JimmyWhat a wonderful day! That’s one of the many reasons I love living here. The world comes to us. We never know who we will meet.

Here are some more pictures of President Carter visiting our local museum.

President Carter and his family enter the local museum.

                                President Carter and his family enter the local museum.

President Carter and the first lady at the museum.

                              President Carter and the first lady at the museum.

I hope they enjoyed our local treasures.

                                    I hope they enjoyed our local treasures.

President Carter views the display cases.

                                         President Carter views the display cases.

On December 10, 2002, the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2002 to Mr. Carter “for his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development.” (The Carter Center) He is the perfect person to visit our island of peace. I am so honored to have met him. What a serendipitous day!

The Carter Center






33 thoughts on “Our Visit with President Jimmy Carter

  1. Although I’m Canadian, I’ve always loved Jimmy Carter – my favourite American president, if a person can have one. I’ve read a two of his recent books – one about aging, and another “A Call to Action”, about violence against women. This post was a lovely story, about a truly serendipitous meeting. Hope all is well in Nicaragua,

    • Hi Bruce,
      Thank you so much for your sweet comments. I have not read “A Call to Action”, so I will put that on my to read list. He is indeed, a wonderful and humble man. I wasn’t as actively involved in politics when he was POTUS, but I am very grateful for having the opportunity to meet him.

  2. How wonderful for you to have met with a former leader of the free world! I love the gifts you gave him! My sister was staying with our parents in Ometepe up until Dec 31st, and she was bummed that the “precise moment” was not meant for her. We have a long line of family and history on the island, and we like to keep abreast of what goes on there, especially now that the island, once a well-kept secret, now seems to be on the vacation radar. The owner of the museum, Moises, is our cousin, and he has done wonderful things there – I’m sure he was a wonderful host to President Carter. His grandmother was the original owner of Hotel Central in Altagracia, where we played as children. Memories…

    • Oh, it fantastic to hear that your family is from Ometepe Island. What part of the island? Too bad I didn’t know your sister, she could have gone with us. You will have to share more memories with me on my blog. I am so grateful to be living on your beautiful oasis of peace. Sometimes, I have to pinch myself to see if it’s real. Thanks so much for your lovely comments, and please stay in touch.

  3. I am a Nicaraguan now residing in the US. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful story. Really sad about the comments made on the local newspaper. I am sure that they are not representative of the kind of people we really are. I am so grateful that Nicaragua is on the tourism radar now. Even more greatful for people like you and this type of honorable visitors.

    • Lloyd, thank you so much for your comments. I know the comments posted in La Prensa were not representative of the people in Nicaragua. The reason we chose Nicaragua was because of the people. We fell in love with the people first, then the astounding beauty and diversity of the country. If you are ever on Ometepe Island, stop by and say hola.

  4. Deb! You got good luck honey, I’m pretty sure that Nicaragua will have more famous visitors, just a few months ago Morgan Freeman was in Guacalito de la isla.

  5. What quick and creative thinking on your part, Debbie…to gift the former President. What a memorable encounter and one many people won’t forget. He’s even been to our little island and had his portrait painted by one of our well known local artists. I didn’t even know the encounter happened until it was over and he was gone. You are lucky. I still marvel at how he gets around to the out of the way places.

  6. Debbie, We thoroughly enjoyed this wonderful story & shared it w/ family. How marvelous & magical! You go grrrrrrrl! Love the whole experienced you & Ron shared. It was really fun reading about all the familiar people & players involved in key & cameo roles! What fun! And yes, we agree, President Carter is a perfect visitor to muy tranquillo Ometepe!

  7. Wow! That is too cool! Carter has always been way high in my estimation. Always thought our country would be in a much better place if we had embraced him instead of his successor. What was he doing there? I’ve got a photo of me with Clinton, and I saw Nixon and V.P. Humphrey in person in another lifetime. It’s one of the perks of our country that we have such encounters.

    • Marcia, this morning I was reading the comments in the Nicaraguan newspaper about Carter’s arrival in Nicaragua. I was surprised to read the caustic comments. Actually, they were pretty funny when I used Google translate. The Arcia ferry captain let President Carter man the ferry for a few minutes. People were really upset because Carter didn’t have a license to operate the ferry. Geez. Those were the kinder comments. The others were very political and definitely didn’t lean toward the Sandinista side of the country.

  8. Well we walked down to and hung around the dock at San Jorge after our arrival from Costa Rica only to also wonder about the police boats surrounding the ferry. Shortly a crowd, including Jimmy Carter walked past us, much to my surprise I see one of the few US Presidents I voted for.
    My what a small world.

    See you soon,
    Doug & Lynn Gordon

    • Beauty, he is a very humble man. He rode on the ferry to the island with his family. I thought maybe he would have flown in on a helicopter or a private plane. For the past 3 days helicopters have been coming to Ometepe. I don’t know if the helicopters had anything to do with his visit? Maybe they were checking out the island for places for his family to visit? He must have been hot, though because he was wearing a long sleeve shirt and it was a hot day today.

      • si; home on the river. yesterday i ‘installed’ a gutter and could have used an extra set of hands! up/down/up/down, meaning up a ladder down a ladder then upstairs/out the window, – oops, dropped the wire that was tied to the pipe, downstairs, up the ladder, down the ladder… jajajaja.. i finished at sunset, and the rain started minutes later!
        today i was trying to solve a mystery of a broken water line, but i see no evidence of a leak yet the meter turns round and round! guess whtat i’ll be doing tomorrow?

        but if my problems are no larger than that, i’m lucky!

        i’m about to be ‘sin’ internet for about a week, but hope the new service is lightning fast!

        i’ve missed you as well!

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