Books and Chai

Anna Dickard

With no offense to your favorite coffee shop, chai is much more than a fancy hot beverage. In Kenya, chai is made by boiling milk, tea and a lot of sugar together, but it’s the thought behind it that makes it important. Chai is an open door, a gesture of friendship, a “hug in a cup” (to quote one Patrick Jane). Kenyan culture is very hospitable, and to be offered chai is to be welcomed into someone’s home.

With my recent appointment to the Rift Valley Academy, books and chai is exactly what I hope to offer to the girls that I am soon to be a dorm mom for. That is to say, guidance and teaching (books), and love and a place to call home (chai).

An RVA dorm kid spends about nine months out of the year at school–and it can be a long and lonely year if the dorm is not a pleasant place to be. In my high school days, I was a student at RVA, and a great deal of my happy memories from that time are from the dorm, the girls I lived with and the efforts of our dorm mom to make it a home away from home. Over the past year or so, I’ve felt God calling me to return to RVA, and more recently to be a dorm mom. I want to be able to go back and create a home for these girls who are away from theirs.

So here I go. I’m on the last leg of the journey–paperwork, passports, shots (so, so many shots) and all those other practical things that need to get done before moving overseas. There are still VISA’s to be approved and funds to be raised. And all of it needs to be done before the end of June, which is getting uncomfortably closer. But it’s okay. Kenya is where God wants me to be, and so Kenya is where He’s going to get me–in a school on the side of a mountain, making chai and making a dorm into a home.

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