Ep #010: Helen Schafer and Blake Thomas of Tiny House Coffee Roasters, Nicaragua 2012-2014

Blake and Helen started Tiny House Coffee Roasters while serving as Peace Corps Volunteers in Nicaragua, to work hand in hand with members of their communities. They collaborate directly with local producers, sharing more work and more benefits.

On this Episode:

  • I interview Helen Schafer and Blake Thomas of Tiny House Coffee Roasters about their time in Nicaragua from 2012-2014.
  • How Helen continues to use the health education techniques she developed in Peace Corps
  • The time Blake spent three days stranded on a coffee farm in guerilla territory

Photos from Helen and Blake’s Story

Where and when did you serve? What did you do?

Helen: I served in Nicaragua as a Health Volunteer from 2012-2014. I worked alongside the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health to address issues in my town such as higher rates of HIV transmission and adolescent pregnancy.

Blake: El Jicaro, Nicaragua, from 2012-2014. I taught an entrepreneurial course to high school seniors and business fundamentals to local farmers.

What is one of your favorite Peace Corps memories?

Helen: Riding in the back of a pick-up truck with my entire host family up a mountain to cut down a Christmas tree. Taking a long run around back-country roads. Watching the sun set over my town from my favorite spot by an ancient barn. I know that’s more than one memory, but my PC service was special because of many little moments like those.

Blake: Long mountain runs with Helen.

What is one of your least favorite Peace Corps memories?

Helen: Being woken up in the middle of the night by the sound of mice eating my food.

Blake: Being stranded on a coffee farm in guerilla territory for three days.

What do you miss about the Peace Corps?

Helen: Walking to my neighbor’s house to share coffee and conversation while sitting in lawn chairs. Picking avocados and other tropical fruits from trees in my back yard. Letting Drixana, my “host” sister, braid my hair for hours.

Blake: The pace of life.

What is something you learned in Peace Corps that has stayed with you?

Helen: Consumerism and having things are not necessary for a happy life. It’s just noise to distract us from what is actually important.

Blake: Spanish

Find out more about Tiny House Coffee Roasters

FB: Tiny House Coffee Roasters

Instagram: Tiny House Coffee Roasters

Twitter: @tinyhousecoffee



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