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San Diego de Tenango

“Saint Diego”

Suchitoto, Cuscatlán, El Salvador

Size: 141 acres

Population: 26 families / 119 people

established: 2000

Ended Agros Support: 2012

The community of San Diego has undergone a long and arduous but faithful journey together. The villagers originally lived in a town called Cabañas, but were displaced during El Salvador’s civil war and lived in Honduran refugee camps. After the war, the villagers returned to Cabañas but could no longer live there. Eventually they were able to rent farmland in the region of Tenango. A young man returned before the others and bought one-half acre of land in the area. He then invited 18 families to live there with him and his family where they were all able to rent the surrounding land for agricultural production.

In April 2000, we met with the community of San Diego. After hearing its amazing story, we decided to help. The villagers had already negotiated the purchase price of the land, so we only needed to provide financial resources. We purchased the rented land and began the process of partnership with this established community. Reflecting their tremendous faith, the villagers of San Diego delayed the building of their own homes and lived in makeshift houses while they built their community’s first structure, a church. The bell tower of the church was constructed from bamboo and the bell was made from melted artillery shells, vestiges from El Salvador’s violent past. This Catholic community invited a priest to conduct a special service of thanksgiving for their new land. After establishing their crops, the villagers began building adobe houses.