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Our shining light from the Ukraine

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JJ Rocks Article # 23:
From St. Croix Music Magazine, Issue # 4, January, 2007
Here is a wonderful story for anyone who wonders what the meaning of true friendship really is. And its for the people who have a positive outlook on global unification and not preconceived notions that were derived from the mistakes that were made by mankind in the past. Its proof that we can learn much from each other no matter where we come from or what history we have been taught in school, learned on the TV news, or heard from around the neighborhood as we were growing up. This tells the story of how gaining knowledge from one another and offering help to someone you never met could possibly be two of the elements of not only friendship, but world peace. I know thats kind of heavy for a music magazine, but its music that planted the seeds for the theme of this article. So let me start at the beginning.

We really wanted to publish an on line music magazine dedicated not only to the independent musicians, but also to bring our wonderful island of St. Croix to the rest of the world. But unfortunately we didnt know anything about designing websites. One friend on the island tried to help and showed us a way to make a website on Microsoft word. So I poured myself into the articles and Dorothy did the networking, and we made a pleasant background with a photo, paid for the hosting and the first issue was out. To our disbelief, the comments from our friends locally were about the design without even mentioning the articles. We were very disappointed to say the least. Now this is a free magazine and there are no pop-ups, advertising or business links of any kind. Its all about the articles that support our independent musicians while also promoting St. Croixs musicians, arts and culture. But you wouldnt know that from the comments that we got back. We felt like two people who wanted to give a gift to someone and the first, and only thing the person said was something about the wrapper that it came in. But then it all changed.

One of the bands that I wrote an article on contacted us and said that they loved it! And in the same letter they mentioned how one of them programmed websites and the other designed them, and if we ever needed any help on the site to let them know. Now of course being pretty much website illiterates, we took them up on their offer. They told us that the reason they would do it for free is because they liked the idea of the magazine being non profit. And that was the beginning of a beautiful relationship. You see, they were not like our local friends who so easily condemned the package that our hearts were wrapped in, they liked the contents and were from the other side of the world. So now I guess Im reaching the part of the story where lessons were learned and friendships were made.

I know that any of you U.S. baby boomers out there remember when you would be in elementary school and hear the sound of air raid alarms going off and have to hide under your desk and put your hands behind your head waiting for a Soviet missile to land in your neighborhood. And possibly the children over there experienced the same drill. To most of us that whole time period, or any time in history similar to it seems pretty damn stupid now. But I guess thats human progress. But even with that in mind I still never dreamed that the people that really saved this publication would be from the Ukraine. Its a place that is thousands of miles away from here and as far as I know it used to be part of the place that my embarrassing history had taught me to fear as a child. But I guess common sense does always float to the top.

So please let me now introduce you too our new friends Oleg and Sveta from Kiev, Ukraine! You can learn about their incredible band The Mosquito in our October issue, but for now we would like to focus on their kindness and dedication to St. Croix Music Magazine. Now here are two people that Dorothy and I have never met but have grown to respect and become very fond of. Sveta has designed a colorful website for us that we have received many compliments on. Shes also the fantastic and unique singer of their band. And Oleg is the man who programmed the site and made it easy for a beginner like myself to build articles and columns. Now check this out! Those wonderful people are coming home from a hard days work as Im getting out of bed so theres only a short time that we can communicate. So they also taught us about ICQ, an instant messaging that we talk to each other on. Now you can imagine, Im tired and still sleepy while wiping the sand from my eyes and they are very tired from working all day but they would still get on line and walk me through the steps of building this website. And the site is constantly growing! They have added a guestbook, a bands column, and even a Jingle bells section for Christmas with different and fun versions of the song. We are now publishing a magazine that is read by countries all over the world, thanks to two wonderful people who believed in its contents. And we can only imagine what the New Year will bring! Oleg and Sveta, you are family to us, and we cant wait until you visit us and we can show you around beautiful St. Croix! (Dont worry about a hotel; you are welcome in our little cottage anytime!)

So obviously there is a moral to this story. And if you cant figure it out just walk up to someone that you know who comes from a different background, religion, history, or does not have the same color as you and introduce yourself with a smile on your face and a charm in you heart, and just maybe one day you will also write an article like this.

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