Two women from different parts of the world, united by a common passion, experience or expertise, tell Kim Chakanetsa the stories of their lives.
Nurses on the frontline: A year on
In April 2020, Kim Chakanetsa spoke to two young nurses who were putting their lives on the line by treating the sickest covid-19 patients in intensive care units. At that point, only a couple of months into a global pandemic, they were exhausted but optimistic about things getting better. Kim catches up with them and asks how they are coping a year on after another wave of infections and an incresing death toll.
Hannah Grey is a 24-year-old nurse based in London. She worked as a busy Intensive Care Unit for both waves of virus infections, but has since moved on to a children’s critical unit. She has launched her own podcast, What Makes a Nurse?, sharing the stories of the many skilled nurses she met during the pandemic, as they came to help on the ICU.
Bianca Dintino is a 27-year-old critical care nurse based at Tufts Medical Center in Boston. She was one of the first nurses to volunteer to care for coronavirus patients last year, and credits her colleagues with keeping her going. Bianca got married during the pandemic, and has been trying to find the joy in a difficult year.
Produced by Rosie Stopher
L: Bianca Dintino (credit Anne Marie)
R: Hannah Gray (credit Simi Sebastian)
Funerals and grief in a pandemic
The extraordinary measures put in place during the Covid-19 pandemic and the Ebola crisis placed restrictions on much of people’s lives, including the rituals and ceremony around death. Kim Chakanetsa talks to two women whose work has supported grieving families during a time of crisis.
Lianna Champ is a British funeral director and author of How to Grieve Like a Champ. She’s based in Lancashire, one of the areas worst hit by Covid-19. She always knew she was going to be a funeral director and she started helping out at the local funeral home at 16. She talks about how Covid-19 has transformed funerals, mourning and grief, and why the rituals of death are crucial to our ability to grieve healthily.
Neima Candy is a Liberian public health nurse who coordinated the Red Cross response to the Ebola crisis. She was in charge of organising burial teams made up of volunteers and helped write guidelines for ‘safe and dignified’ funerals that would bring closure to the families and at the same time avoid further spread of the disease.
Left: Neima Candy [courtesy Neima Candy]
Right: Lianna Champ [credit Phil Garlington]
How to live alone
Eating ice cream in the early hours, naked dancing and not having to tidy up behind anyone else are just some of the benefits of living alone described by Kim Chakanetsa’s guests on The Conversation this week. Solo living is a rising global phenomenon, tied to increasing economic empowerment of women. It's a trend seen in all countries, including in more traditional, conservative cultures. But it's rarely written about and often overlooked in government strategy. So why are more women choosing to live on their own and what do they enjoy about it?
Hannah Carmichael started the Living Well Alone Project in the UK with her mother Helen. They had both started living on their own, for different reasons, but had found the first months difficult. Looking for advice they found there wasn't much. Hannah says Covid has shone a spotlight on the lives of people who live alone, and there's still much myth-busting needed.
Sreemoyee Piu Kundu based her book Status Single on interviews with 3,500 women who spoke about their experience of single life in India. She has set up an online community where solo women of all ages come together to talk about living alone, single parenthood, financial and social struggles and offer support to each other.
Produced by Jane Thurlow
Left: Hannah Carmichael [credit Carl Fletcher]
Right: Sreemoyee Piu Kundu [courtesy Sreemoyee Piu Kundu]
Women who love insects
Insects have been around for more than 350 million years, longer than dinosaurs and flowering plants. We are vastly outnumbered by them – there are approximately 1.4 billion insects for every person on earth. And although we tend to treat them with disdain, they are absolutely essential to our survival. Kim Chakanetsa talks all things buzzing, crawling and flying with two insect enthusiasts who have made a career out of their love for bugs.
Dr Jessica L Ware is a Canadian-American entomologist specialising in dragonflies and damselflies. She’s the first African-American associate curator in invertebrate zoology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York and the vice-president of the Entomological Society of America. A single mother and an adventurer, she has travelled the world following dragonflies and she is passionate about diversifying the scientific community.
Dr Carolina Barillas-Mury was born in Guatemala and spent her life studying mosquitoes to understand how they transmit malaria. She heads the Mosquito Immunity and Vector Competence Section at the National Institutes of Health - one of the world's foremost medical research centres - and she believes the way to fight malaria is to work with, and not against, mosquitoes.
Produced by Alice Gioia
Left: Carolina Barillas-Mury (courtesy of Carolina Barillas-Mury)
Right: Jessica L Ware (credit Sallqa-Tuwa Stephanita Bondocgawa Maflamills)
Women in law
In many countries around the world more women than men take law degrees but they're still much less likely to make partner or become a judge. Kim Chakenetsa talks to two lawyers from Egypt and the UK about the discrimination they face and the need for a more diverse legal profession.
Omnia Gadalla is a professor of law and sharia at Al-Azhar University. She founded an initiative called Her Honour Setting the Bar which aims to encourage and support female law graduates and to challenge discrimination which prevents Egyptian women from becoming judges.
Alexandra Wilson is a barrister in the UK. She's complained about times she's mistaken for a defendant because she's Black and is highlighting the racism she faces in her workplace. She argues that the law profession needs to include more women and people from different ethnic and class backgrounds.
Produced by Jane Thurlow
Left: Omnia Gadalla (courtesy Omnia Gadalla)
Right: Alexandra Wilson (credit Laurie Lewis)
How to focus
Have you ever been so absorbed in an activity that you lost track of time? Experiencing moments of intense focus is something most of us can relate to; but did you know you can train for it? Kim Chakanetsa discusses tips and best practice with two women whose careers demand their absolute concentration.
Lorraine Huber is a Freeride World Champion and a mental strength coach. Freeriding is a discipline that involves skiing off-piste and performing acrobatic jumps on natural terrains. For Lorraine, being able to shut-out the world around her and perform at her best is a matter of life or death.
Kalena Bovell is the assistant conductor of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra and the only African-American/Hispanic orchestra conductor in the United States. When she is on the podium, she needs to be able to focus for hours, while working with a big group of musicians in front of a public. To excel in her job, she had to learn to master the art of intense focus.
Produced by Alice Gioia.
MUSIC DETAILS: Extract from Kalena Bovell’s international debut with Chineke! Orchestra. The performance was recorded at Southbank Centre's Royal Festival Hall in London, UK.
L: Lorraine Huber
R: Kalena Bovell [credit Cabrillo Festival]
Interesting conversations, lovely host.
Fantastic host and topical discussions
Kim Chakanetsa is an incredible radio host. The discussions and guest speakers are invariably stimulating and topical. I look forward to a new episode all week!
Really original format, inspiring and incredible insight. Have recommended!