Residents of La Entrada are revitalizing their poor Ecuadorian village with a new destination wedding church, artwork and town improvements. Shell and Marsha Spivey, expat owners of a popular bed and breakfast, Villa de Los Sueños, have been vital to the efforts.
From this article about the revitalization:
From March 5 to March 11, artists from all over Ecuador came to La Entrada to paint giant murals throughout the village, in what is Phase 2 of an innovative renewal project for the small town aimed at revitalizing the spirit of the people and the town’s economy.
|Artwork in La Entrada
Photo from CuencaHighLife article
Later in the article:
“La Entrada is a poor community and not many of the village children complete their education,” says Shell. “Work opportunities here are limited to a few family-run shops and fishing, which is the main occupation. There are 15 fishing families representing about 50 fishermen. Fruit and vegetable growers also live here, but there is not much else. We wanted to help change that dynamic.”
To increase the chances for kids to get ahead and create a better future for themselves and their families, the Spiveys joined the town in helping to rebuild the local church – the centerpiece of the village and something they perceived as a possible way to bring income into the village.
|La Entrada Church, with a window to the Pacific Ocean
Photo from CuencaHighLife article
The church is now nearly complete and word has spread. Already, La Entrada has hosted many destination weddings and the church has enough pews to accommodate over 100 people. When finished, it will hold 160 people.
Rental fees go toward maintenance of the church and other community needs. Ongoing projects include raising money to build additional pews to fill the church, painting the building’s exterior arched window trim and dome, installing the first street lights in the village, and renovating the seawall, which has been crumbling.
“Two years ago, many believed this project was an impossible dream — building the first church in Ecuador with a towering glass wall behind the altar and a view of the Pacific Ocean,” says Marsha. “Today it’s a reality and people are taking pride in their town and they want to do more. I’ve never seen the village so excited.”
Locals are now mobilizing to revitalize their entire village, plastering and sealing concrete block walls, repairing walkways and stairs, installing glass in homes that currently only have window openings with curtains, replacing bamboo walls with concrete, revamping the town square, landscaping, and painting all of the buildings in the village in bright pastel colors with contrasting trim.
Shell and Marsha spearheaded a crowd funding campaign to pay for the huge church glass overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Corporate sponsors are helping provide paint and the villagers are doing the labor. It is a true community effort to help provide for the next generation.
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