The Bering Strait is a narrow stretch of water that separates Alaska from Siberia. At its narrowest point the Bering Strait is just fifty miles wide.
For the past hundred and twenty years those fifty miles seemed like five hundred. There were no planes that flew across this narrow stretch of water, and no boats carried people back and forth.
All of this changed in the late 1980's. These days there are frequent visits between people living on either side of the Bering Strait. Even though the climate remains very cold, there are a lot of warm feelings occurring in this corner of the world.
Most interesting to hear about are the native families that are being reunited. The native residents of this part of the world, a tribe called the "Aleuts," were separated by force a hundred and twenty years ago. On the Soviet side of the Straits, the Aleuts were moved to the far away Commander Islands. For over a century, fewer than 400 Aleuts lived separated from their relatives on the other side of the Bering Strait.
In the past five years Aleut family members have had the opportunity to visit with one another. When they get together they often sing the old songs they all know so well. Even after a hundred years, the songs of their ancestors remain clear in their memory.
During these visits they also share news and try to catch up on a century's worth of family history. Family bonds are being woven together again, like the beautiful baskets these natives are famous for.
An interesting part about these family reunions is that the Aleuts living in the Commander Islands, on the Soviet side of the Bering Strait, had lost the ability to write the Aleutian language. Their newly reunited relatives have shown them that the Aleutian language is still alive and being actively used.
The end of the Cold War has also resulted in large numbers of student and teacher exchanges across the Bering Strait. People are learning about each others' cultures, and openly sharing their lives with one another.
If you could measure human happiness with a yardstick, you'd have to bring a huge number of yardsticks to measure the positive emotions of the people living on either side of the Bering Strait. The cold waters of the Bering Strait continue to flow, but these days a strong bridge of warm human emotions crosses over those waters.
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[This story may be freely copied and distributed for noncommercial purposes. In particular, it may be freely used for any freeeware or shareware software projects. (I'd love to see a copy of anything you make with this.)
I'd be happy to communicate with any software development companies interested in producing multimedia stories. I've written a bunch of stories that lend themselves to multimedia presentation.