LEMONT – Amanda Hoster of Lemont has seen first-hand that the recycling programs with which Americans are familiar can be a
foreign concept in other countries.
Hoster has been volunteering with the Peace Corps in Nicaragua since Sept. 2012, teaching locals young and old about recycling and the environment.
“Trash management is one of the biggest problems here,” she said. “A lot of people don’t even have a garbage truck that comes around.”
Hoster joined the Peace Corps after graduating college with a degree focusing on environmental studies.
She said she has always been interested in service work, but studying abroad in Costa Rica gave her a direction.
“I had thought about it off and on, but after coming back from studying abroad, I knew it was something I wanted to do,” she said.
Hoster said her primary job is training and co-teaching at an elementary school in the rural town of Las Pilas-El Coyol, Rivas, working with students and teachers in science, gardening and nurseries.
Because of the lack of recycling programs in the area, she said the teachers are learning, as well as the students.
“It’s a new idea,” she said. “A lot of people are used to just burning all their trash.”
Hoster said she also works on environmental projects in the community, such as creating a recycling program.
One such project that she is about to start involves improving ovens and stoves. She said many local people use wood-burning stoves, which can cause respiratory problems.
Hoster’s service will finish in November. She said she plans to get a master’s degree in environmental management and would like to continue working abroad in the future.
However, she said she is looking forward to being home for an extended period of time.
Her mother, Mary, will also be excited to have her back in Lemont.
Mary said she has been comfortable with Amanda’s stay in Nicaragua because of the amount of research she did about the area and the support system the Peace Corps and her host family provide.
Still, she tries to keep in frequent contact with her daughter.
“Every day, I text her and try to tell her I love her,” she said.
More about Amanda Hoster
Education: Graduate of Benet Academy; bachelor's in economics and international studies concentrating in environmental studies from Kenyon College
Hobbies: Crafting, running and yoga
Family: Mother, Mary; father, Jeffrey; sister, Bethany
Favorite meal in Nicaragua: Tajadas, (fried plantain chips with shredded cabbage and fried cheese); quesillo (cheese wrapped in a tortilla with cream cheese and fried onion)