Brandon Tirpak had been to Nicaragua as an intern with Gran Pacifica before he arranged a trip for three alumni of Allegheny College and Delta Tau Delta fraternity brothers. On this trip, Brandon introduced his brothers to the country and many of the friends he had made on previous trips, including several of the villagers that live just outside of Gran Pacifica's property.Â During their brief stay, the three new guys gained an appreciation and love for the country shared by Brandon.
One night, while enjoying some local beers poolside at Las Perlas, Dan Connolly asked one of the local Nicaraguans in attendance how the group of four could give back to the local community. And with a simple question of: How can we help? the project began.
Dan, Zach, Joe and Brandon decided they would help the village of California renovate their chapel, which had fallen into disrepair. The four fraternity brothers thought that the people of the village would appreciate a restored church in which to celebrate mass and the many milestones of their lives.
The next morning, after having gone to bed at 6:30 am, the group awoke to the sound of knocks at the door.Â It was just 9:30, and the local Catholic bishop had arrived to speak with the group about their newly found endeavor.Â News, just a few hours old, travels fast in a Nicaraguan village.
Using Brandon as their only means of communicating, the group sat down with the bishop and other parishioners that had shown up to discuss the needs of the chapel.Â After several cups of coffee and a growing list of repairs, the group set out to view the chapel and the deal was made.Â The group decided to raise the funds necessaryÂ to renovate their church.
Upon returning to the states, the group kept in contact with the bishop and has raised about half of the money necessary to complete the renovations.Â To complete their task, they have scheduled a fund raising event for Friday, NovemberÂ 11,Â in which a local Pittsburgh restaurant will host.Â The four brothers will be collecting donations at the door and raffling off two vacations offered by ECI Development, the parent company of Gran Pacifica, including one free week stay at Gran Pacifica and another at the Grand Baymen Resort in Belize.Â TheÂ group will be on hand to educate the attendees about Nicaragua and the need that is apparentÂ within the country.Â More details are to come as the event logistics come together.Â Please mark the date and plan to attend.