Alan Rabinowitz tells Krista many stories about the debilitating aspects of stuttering during his childhood and how that informs the man he is today. But, during a poignant moment, he also shares an experience about a life-changing encounter with Dawi, the leader of the Taron people. Situated in the remote border region between Burma and Tibet, the Taron are a "pure-blood" race of Mongoloid pygmies on the verge of self-imposed extinction.

Dawi and Alan Rabinowitz couldn't communicate easily, but somehow managed to connect. As you'll hear in the video above, Dawi asks him about his family and then says:

"You act like a man who still has this deep, deep hole inside of him."

I think most of us can relate on so many levels. We all have doubts and vacillations. And, sometimes it takes a complete outsider, a stranger, to see the "deep, deep hole" existing within ourselves. Within both men, this hole exists. And, through that common bond, the bounty of Alan Rabinowitz's friendship with Dawi helps him change his own life.

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12Reflections

Reflections

I loved this program--one gentle soul conversing with another about those who don't have the words but can still communicate with us if we allow it. Thank you.

Such a profound story! It was beautifully told, and Mr. Rabinowitz speaks so invitingly and is such a good listener that his intentions are pure. I'm sure Dawi and the group of pygmies recognized that as did the jaguars and the wildlife he interacted with. Clearly, his disability in some ways has helped him become highly able-bodied in other ways, and thank god he has found his voice!

Perhaps the most thought provoking presentation in recent radio broadcasting. I gained great insights into my lifelong "connection" to dogs. Somehow they all know me and I know them on an unexplainable level.

I am delighted to come upon your show early this Sunday am. The website assures me of a host of engaging topics and I will make it a must listen for the years to come.
Thank you.

Isn't that "Mongolian", not "Mongoloid"???

Trent Gilliss's picture

Hi Barbara. "Mongoloid" is the anthropological adjective that Dr. Rabinowitz uses in our interview and in his book. Unfortunately, the term has been used as an offensive slur but it is not the first definition: "Of or being a major human racial classification traditionally distinguished by physical characteristics such as yellowish-brown skin pigmentation, straight black hair, dark eyes with pronounced epicanthic folds, and prominent cheekbones and including peoples indigenous to central and eastern Asia." Perhaps "Asian" is a safer term but I deferred to the expert in this case. This language is tricky, though, and am open to other suggestions.

This is a haunting story about how even though people are really different, they are also the same. I have experienced this.... talking with my, then father in law, in Jordan a decade or two ago. It is surprising the things that make us so similar. And sweet.

I certainly understand why some people feel that way about having kids.... I feel so opposite. I feel like I would be robbed of so much by having other little needy entities taking away resources from me and the rest of the world. I also feel like we should not need children to fill a hole. I fill my own hole. It is a decision that is long gone (at my age)... but I never regret not having kids.

All of you that have kids.... will vehemently disagree. But then, you will never know what it feels like to have time to care for others without having to deal with your own under foot. Both kinds of people are needed. I just wish our society didn't look so disparagingly on the childless. Our lives can be VERY full too.

Jillian, thanks so much for speaking up for the childless. I, too, never wanted children, and I fully agree with you. Children take up a whole lot of ones time and energy, and that's for the rest of one's life, not just until they're grown (once they're grown the grandkids aren't far behind). That leaves much less to give to others who may have needs. I'm thankful for people like you in the world.

And, yes, I also disagree with the notion that we need to have children to fill a hole in us. If I were younger (I'm also past the age when I can choose to have children) this story likely would have made me choose to have a child, but then how would that have turned out for me? Maybe it would have gone badly. I wasn't mothered growing up, which is the main reason I never wanted to have children of my own, and why I don't have the maternal instinct. Who knows, it may have turned out well, but then again, it may have turned out badly.

And another angle: The world is very overpopulated. That is an "inconvenient truth" that those who love children don't want to face. Those of us who choose not to have children are doing the planet and wildlife a huge favor and leaving more space for other life besides human life. Lets face it, a human being has a certain ecological footprint required just to feed us, and there is no getting around that. And most people want far more than the minimum needed to sustain life. So each human born takes away lots of ecological resources from other forms of life. I'd rather keep other forms of life around like the big cats, birds, and all other threatened species, rather than overrun the planet with humans and kill everything else off. Our society is so pro-natal and child-oriented, and the childless are bashed here and there, even in shows like this.

One thing I'd like to bring up about the communication between the Mongoloid pygmy and Alan: They couldn't communicate directly and needed 3 translators (according to Alan) to communicate verbally. This message about the huge hole in Alan had to go through 3 translators, and something could have been mis-interpreted somewhere. Yet the interpretation of this segment is that Alan decided to stay with his wife and have children with her, and everything worked out in the end. Yet I have heard it is bad practice usually to have kids to save a relationship. It worked out for Alan, but this segment implies that it will work for anyone. Just wanted to bring that up.

Alan's transparency is a gift he has earned. The story of nonverbal communication was vivid and heartwarming. This program pet us quiet... Mesmerized. Thank you!

This seems to be more a psychological story Alan and human relations than about the Taron - can one read about them anywhere? When I google it, this is mostly what comes up. Anything on their culture, origins, genome, history, habitat?

HI never mind the last comment - I found what I was looking for... Thanks Love the site!

I would like to know where I could find out more about the lifestyle /culture and relationship with the environment of Taron Peoples.