Conquering Fear

Kao Jai Coffee

“Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it.” –Bill Cosby

I have always been a calculated risk taker. I usually call myself the “optimist realist” when it comes to taking large risks because I’m always looking for the safest way to achieve the biggest results.

When I first met Kyle, one of the other co-founders, I realized that he is a dreamer. Kyle is someone who thinks up crazy ideas that will solve one of many problems. I quickly learned that Kyle and I would make a great team because he would push me to use my imagination and creativity to realize that even your wildest dreams can be attained. While Kyle was able to dream big, I was able to dream with him but with a realist approach.  

On the first day we went to visit the coffee farms, I realized the immense amount of work that goes into picking and processing every coffee cherry. I saw kids working alongside their parents because it was Saturday. Instead of being with their friends, they were helping their families harvest enough coffee to be able to eat and afford gasoline for transportation during the week. 

During my six summers serving with the Appalachia Service Project, I understood that a warm, safe and dry place to live should be a basic human right. I learned that families were being pulled apart because of the unsafe living conditions that had amounted over the years.

After meeting both farmers in Northern Thailand and families in Central Appalachia, I understand that we are all just people. We are people who want to love and be loved. We all have a story and a background that makes us who we are today. When I was harvesting coffee alongside the farmers there was not much that we could say to each other because of the language barrier, but they knew that I understood how hard each of them work to support their families. The same is true when I hugged a single mother of four in Central Appalachia letting her know that we would be able to work on her home that summer. She knew that I truly understood what it meant for her family.

This is why I am so passionate about Kao Jai Coffee. It’s for the common understanding of those around us. Although we have all had different experiences that have shaped us to be who we are today, we are all just people with a story who will better appreciate one another if we are given the opportunity to “enter one’s heart” or kao jai.

I've figured out why I want it more than I am afraid of it, and I want it badly.

Meg Armstrong


Kyle Ducharme

I'm passionate about making a difference in the lives of those around me regardless of where I am in the world. Whether I am on the busy streets of Boston, building homes in Central Appalachia, or harvesting coffee abroad, I'm always looking for innovative ways to improve our lives and connect with those around us.