Board Members

Zuza Bohley


Zuza was born and raised in East Germany and was deported to West Berlin for political reasons during the Cold  War. She received a Fulbright scholarship to study at the University of  Texas at Austin and completed a MA in linguistics anthropology. She  moved to Boulder, CO in 1991. She has worked as an educator for more than 20 years, working in bilingual as well as private schools. She is involved in the Boulder community, advocates for immigrants and inclusiveness, environmental education, empowerment of marginalized  people, global awareness and peace.

She has been actively involved with FCP since 2006 and member of the FCP board since 2008.

Mercedes Alvarez


Mercedes is from Nicaragua, where  her chemical engineering degree led her to government work in water  treatment and analysis during the 1980′s and 1990′s. She worked for  seven years in sustainable agriculture programs throughout Central  America, while at the same time founding a non-profit in Nicaragua that  helps impoverished women learn how to build and use solar ovens and  solar food dryers. As executive director of this non-profit, Mercedes  promotes healthy alternative lifestyles for rural Nicaraguans that also  preserve and protect the environment.

Mercedes and Greg Bowles have been married for 16 years.

Barbara Bowerman


Barbara moved to Boulder in 1983. After  receiving an undergraduate degree in environmental studies and a masters  of science in environmental health sciences, Barbara’s professional  career involved environmental regulatory work for the U.S. Environmental  Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Interior. Outside of work,  she has enjoyed, at least once, all of the outdoor activities offered  by living in Colorado.

She first became involved with FCP through Project FE and decided she  wanted to spend more time helping individuals and communities. She was  impressed with the opportunities through FCP for artistic cultural  exchange, education of the young, and continuing environmental work  through the creation of clean water supplies. FCP seemed a perfect fit  for volunteering her time towards these ends.

Françoise Poinsatte


Françoise has more than 20 years of  experience working on environmental issues and political campaigns. Her  work as an elected official on the Boulder City Council and on city  boards has helped shape Boulder’s sustainability policy and programs,  especially with transportation planning, waste reduction and Boulder’s  Climate Action Plan. In the nineties, her work was focused on forest and  wildlife conservation as an advocate with the Sierra Club and as a  children’s environmental and art education teacher.

Francoise has taught French and art as a public school teacher in  Colorado for many years. Her dedication to social justice and  sustainable solutions led her to join Friendship City Projects at its  inception in 1984, where she has been active as a board member since  2007.

Mark Van Nostrand


Mark brings years of water engineering experience.

His specialties include project management, treatment plant  construction, treatment plant permitting, alternative project delivery  methods, utility planning for water and wastewater

Gary Mills


Gary has served on the FCP board since  1990. He has been directly involved in the engineering and management of  four water systems in the Jalapa valley and has visited Nicaragua six  times. Gary is an Aerospace Engineer with 30 years of experience in the  design, analysis, fabrication, and test of thermal, cryogenic and  optical systems. He has authored 25 publications in his field and holds  three patents. He works at Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp. in  Boulder.

Philip Wegener


Phil has been involved with Friendship  City Projects since 2001. As an active board member and a professional photographer he has helped FCP by shooting projects, creating  newsletters and shooting video to help publicize the many projects in  the Jalapa Valley. He lives in Boulder with his wife.

Tasia Poinsatte


Since  the 2007 youth delegation, Tasia has continued to support the  people of  Jalapa as a board member for the Friendship City Projects and  co-director of Project FE.  

Since graduating from American University  with degrees in  international development and environmental studies in 2013, she has  pursued her interests in accessible and high quality education for all students as Site Manager of an  educational nonprofit in Kumasi, Ghana and School Gardens Coordinator at  New York City Parks/GreenThumb.  

 Tasia is a MA candidate in International Development at the  University of Denver Josef Korbel School.

Helen Vernier


Helen first visited Jalapa in 2007 on that year's youth delegation. Since then, she has worked to partner with the people of Jalapa in building strong and healthy communities through her work as co-director of Project FE, and serving as a board member of FCP. This work reflects her  lifelong goal of effecting change throughout the world through a focus  on grassroots development.

Helen graduated from Lewis & Clark College in 2012 with a bachelor's degree in Religious Studies and from SOAS, University of London with a master's degree in the Politics of Conflict, Rights, and Justice. She currently works in population health.

Aaron Trumbo



In the summer of 1994, I had just graduated from Niwot High School and  was on my way to Jalapa with Friendship City Projects. I had such an  incredible and transformative experience working with the local community  that I returned to Nicaragua with FCP the following summer. I whole- heartedly believe that those formative cross-cultural volunteer experiences  set my life course. I am a carpenter by trade with 20 years experience 

(in fact, my first construction experience was with FCP in 1994!).  Since then, I have continued to volunteer my carpentry skills across the globe. Currently, I am a non-traditional anthropology undergrad (i.e., older than some of my professors) at CU Boulder.  

Adiact Irias Valenzuela


 Adiact Irias Valenzuela, named after Cacique (Indian Chief) Adiact last Indian Chief from Nicaragua, I was born and raised in Estelí, Nicaragua, almost a hundred miles south of Jalapa, Nicaragua where my father was born. I moved to Colorado on October 2017 with a working Visa with my family and currently work at a Boulder Bilingual Childcare Preschool.

I was introduced to FCP by Zuza Bohley and was immediately overwhelm and touch by the heart and devotion that I saw in FCP board members to my country and to Jalapa.

I have witnessed first hand the need for drinking water in Nicaragua and I am disappointed that for our Government this is not a priority therefore I am committed to work with FCP.

Greg Bowles


Greg has worked in international  development in one way or another over the last twenty years, which  includes work with the Peace Corps as a volunteer in Mongolia and as  staff in Bangladesh. He first went to Nicaragua as the representative of  FCP in Jalapa, a job he held from 2000-2002. Greg has also worked in  sustainable agriculture throughout Central America over the last decade,  and currently works in development projects focused on Nicaragua and  Nepal. Greg and Mercedes Alvarez have ben married for 16 years.