Psychedelic plants, the spiritual tourism backlash - and sexual abuse. Increasing numbers of tourists are travelling to the Peruvian Amazon to drink ayahuasca, a traditional plant medicine said to bring about a higher state of consciousness. Foreigners come looking for spiritual enlightenment or help with mental health problems like trauma, depression, and addiction. But not everyone is happy about Peru’s booming ayahuasca tourism industry. A group of indigenous healers are fighting back against what they see as the exploitation and appropriation of their cultural heritage by foreigners - who run most of the ayahuasca retreats popular with tourists. This coming together of cultures has thrown up another serious problem too: vulnerable women being sexually abused while under the influence of charismatic healers and this powerful psychedelic.
Reporter: Simon Maybin
Producer: Josephine Casserly
Editor: Bridget Harney
(Image: Forest canopy, Peru. Credit: Getty Creative)
The Coffin Club
In 2010, Katie Williams – a former palliative care nurse – started the first Coffin Club in her garage. The idea was that elderly New Zealanders would come together to sand, assemble and decorate their own coffins. Word got around and now - nearly a decade later - The Coffin Club, Rotorua, is a huge success and has inspired spin-offs around the world. Award-winning documentary-maker Cathy FitzGerald visits Katie and meets club members.
Germany: Justice and memory
This year, 2020, sees the 75th anniversary of the end of World War Two. Its legacy remains. Nowhere more so than in Germany, where the rise of Nazism led to the war, and terrible crimes against humanity. Chris Bowlby explores how post-war Germans have faced this inheritance and discovers how a search for justice in relation to Nazi crimes has continued, despite heavy pressure to stop.
Belarus: The wild world of Chernobyl
Ninety year old Galina is one of the last witnesses to the wild natural world that preceded the Chernobyl zone in southern Belarus. 'We lived with wolves' she says 'and moose, and elk and wild boars.' Soviet development destroyed that ecosystem. Forests and marshland were tamed and laid to farmland and industrial use. But when the Chernobyl reactor exploded in 1986, the human population was evacuated; their villages were buried beneath the earth as though they had never existed. A generation on, it seems that the animals Galina knew are returning. But how are they are affected by their radioactive environment? And what can we infer about the state of the land? Monica Whitlock visits the strange new wilderness emerging in the heart of Europe.
Producer/presenter: Monica Whitlock
Editor: Bridget Harney
(Photo: Galina at the door to her cottage. Credit: Monica Whitlock/BBC)
Trans in Japan
In Japan to change gender, people must be sterilised, have gender reassignment surgery, not have any children under the age of 20 and must be single. The government further state you cannot have gender reassignment surgery if you are on any type of hormone replacement - and you must accept the psychiatric diagnosis of "gender identity disorder". Mariko Oi investigates The controversial laws over how people can change gender in Japan.