Friendships Run Deep
By Jeremy V. Jones
Photos courtesy of the Dew family
Makela Dew was on her way to the Dominican Republic to meet a friend she had known for six years — but had never met. Makela’s family sponsors Darisa. Both girls are the same age, 10, so they had written letters back and forth. Now they would meet face to face after Makela ﬂew from her home in Ontario, Canada.
Makela was excited and nervous. She had never ﬂown before or visited another country. She wondered if she would be left out because she was a kid. But she was eager to learn about another culture. When she met Darisa, it was like they were old friends.
"We had fun ﬁguring out what the other person was thinking, even though we couldn’t speak the same language," Makela says. "I taught her to play tag without using words."
It didn’t take long for Makela to realize that life in the Dominican Republic is different from her life. In Canada, Makela goes to an arts school, takes piano lessons, plays soccer, and lives in a comfortable house. She quickly saw that many Dominicans live in shacks with outhouses, outdoor cooking areas and no electricity.
Thinking of her friends in the Dominican Republic still reminds Makela to be thankful for the life and opportunities God has given her. She was sad to say goodbye to her Dominican friends, but she will continue to write.
"Now it’s like Darisa is one of my best friends, and we just write about the things we have in common," Makela says. "Instead of just being a picture on our wall, our sponsored kids are my friends who I played with."