It takes a church to house a village

PORT TOWNSEND -— Presbyterian churches in Port Townsend, Clallam Bay and Oak Harbor are ensuring that a remote village in El Salvador is getting new housing.

The First Presbyterian Church in Port Townsend is spearheading the project, with other churches helping with fundraising.

In March, Amy Wagner and Hilda Bojorquez presented a program at Port Townsend’s First Presbyterian Church about the village, Santa Elena, an isolated community of 86 people that shares a name with a larger city in El Salvador.

Wagner, a social worker, and Bojorquez, a civil engineer, had conducted a year-long study to record the village’s history and chart its future.

The number-one priority identified by the residents: real houses to replace the dirt-floor, tin-walled shacks that inadequately shelter most of the village’s 20 families from wind and rain.

On Sunday, Wagner announced to the First Presbyterian Church members that construction is about to start on 16 weather-proof cement-block houses.

The houses, and the skilled workers to build them, are the result of a commitment by First Presbyterian members, who with the help of Presbyterian churches in Clallam Bay and Oak Harbor, are raising the $65,000 needed for materials to build a house for each family.

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