Dr. Arash Babaoff recently retired from his career at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, where he worked in the Adolescent Medicine Division, Transport team and the Emergency Department since 1993.
Believing that medicine is an international language that should be practiced as such, Dr. Babaoff began his volunteer work abroad in November of 2001. Since then, he has made volunteering a way of life.
In addition to the many medical missions with international organizations such as Operation Smile, which have taken him to such countries as the West Bank of Palestine, Nepal, Chechnya, China, Cambodia, Rwanda, Malawi, Morocco, Myanmar, Mali, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and many others, Dr. Babaoff is the co-founder of an NPO providing healthcare to the people in the Bolivar Province in Central Ecuador.
We met Dr. Babaoff at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, where he was also a volunteer. We found his work so inspiring, we asked him to join us on Ecotones, which he graciously found time to do.
What happens when a family decides to devote themselves to creating a more healing world and gathers materials from nature and engage their own creativity to make toys for children bychildren? What if this is part of bringing into reality a vision of community healing the harm of generations of trauma experienced by First Nations people? What if the busy parents ask for assistance from a local church group, and a group of elder women joins in?
In October of 2019, some of those Elders from the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Bozeman, “Kaalas” in the language of the Crow, brought us to the home of Drs. of Education Megkian and Shane Doyle, where we were welcomed by four of their five children: 6 year old twins, Blake and Quanah, 9 year old Lillian, and 11 year old Ruby. They shared with us their vision of the Family Healing Center, and why they created The Native American Children’s Toy Company.
Every 10th toy the children make is given to a Native American child currently in foster care with this letter: “…. No matter what happens, you will always have a home and a homeland with your people…”
Megkian (center), Quanah (left) & Blake (right) write words in English & Crow on stones to create “Story Stones”. Players pull stones from a bag & then make up stories from them. Kaalla, Ita Kileen, in the background works on a hoop for “Sticks & Hoops”.
Quanah Doyle works on a project. A bag of “Story Stones” are in front of him.
Lilian (left) & Ruby (right) Megkian (back)
From left to right: Ruby, Brooklyn, Kaalas Robyn Lauster & Kitty Donich (photo by Megkian Doyle)
From left to right: Blake, Lily’s friend, Elizabeth, Lily, Ita Killeen, Kitty Donich in back. (photo by Megkian Doyle)
Ruby (left) & friend, Brooklyn, (right)
Lilian (left) & friend, Lia, play “Story Stones”.
Quanah demonstrates “Stick & Hoop”
Unless otherwise credited, all photos courtesy of Kaala, Robyn Lauster. The family photo at top is by Arnica Spring Rae.
On this edition of Ecotones, we hear from local Bozemanites, Dr. Mary M. Clare, Ph.D. and author, Gary Ferguson, about their work in evolving the concept of Full Ecology. How regaining our sense of kinship, relationship and interconnection, and being guided by balance, rhythm and harmony, we can survive and thrive the disruptions of our personal embedded environments, and the greater environments of which we are a natural part. Gary is The author of 26 books, the latest of which is THE EIGHT MASTER LESSONS OF NATURE: WHAT NATURE TEACHES US ABOUT LIVING WELL IN THE WORLD, published by Dutton.