🔊 Bikes, hugs and dinner: our Top 5 lockdown solutions

Problems caused by the corona virus were met by some brilliant solutions; Alastair & Clarisse discuss their favourites. Plus our brilliant quiz…

Transcription podcast – May 5, 2020

Hello and welcome to WoW!, the positive podcast! Showing kids that there’s a lot more to the world news than bad news.

I’m Alastair. As a journalist, I’ve often written about things going wrong. But people also need to know too about what’s going right, to know that we can change the world for the better.

This week, Clarisse and I look back at these strange times we’ve all lived through because of corona virus and give a big WoW! shout-out to our favourite solutions to problems that COVID caused.

I hope the podcast gives you some ideas too – and maybe a bit of a boost. If you like it, do share it with a friend!


A – Hello Clarisse!

C – Hello Alastair! What have you been doing this week?

A – Well, I was thinking back over these strange times we’ve all been through because of corona virus.

C – And what were you thinking? About how difficult things have been for people?

A – Well, actually mainly I was thinking about how brilliantly most people coped with the problems.

C – You mean people found solutions to the problems?

A – Exactly Clarisse. And of course here at WoW! we’re all about solutions. So I drew up a list of favourite solutions to corona virus problems. Do you want to hear it?

C – Yes! If there’s a place in it for my favourite…

A – Hm. Well, let’s see. What’s your favourite solution?

C – Hm, let’s make this a test! Do you have anyone called Steve in your list?

A – Steve? Hm. Maybe! You’ll just have to wait and see!

C – OK. I know my solution is the best! So what’s your top 5?

A – Well, Clarisse, drum roll …. Here we go, the WoW! Top 5 COVID solutions …

A – And at number 5 we have … The Road Chefs! Serge and Chantal. What was the problem?  Well all the cafes had to shut down to stop the virus. As most people stayed at home, it was important that we had plenty to eat. But how does our food get to the shops? In trucks mostly. But what about the drivers? With no cafes, how could they eat on the road? Serge and Chantal run a restaurant in France. But they had to close too and their cooks and waiters went home. But Serge and Chantal wanted to help their friends, the truckers. So they got into their kitchen on their own and started making hot meals that the drivers could eat in their cabs. The truckers were happy to have a hot dinner. But Serge and Chantal were happy too because they were able to do something to say thank you.

C – That’s a great story, Alastair. And of course there were lots of Serges and Chantals who found ways to help people who were helping all of us.

A – Exactly, Clarisse. And I liked the story of Serge and Chantal particularly because they were so clear that they were getting joy out of giving, just as much as their friends the truck drivers were enjoying a tasty meal. Giving brings happiness both ways! Now, here we go, moving up to Number 4 …


A – And at number 4 in the WoW! top five solutions during COVID, we have… The Hero Bikers. Now this also has to do with helping the helpers too. Nurses had to work really hard to help people who were sick with corona virus. But there were very few buses because people had to stay at home. Solution? Give the nurses bikes! An outfit called the Bike Station in Scotland usually sells second-hand bikes. But they decided to give them away to nurses and other people who needed to get to work during the shutdown. What I loved about this solution was that it didn’t just solve the problem of getting people to work. To be honest, riding a bike in Scotland in March, when it’s cold and dark and wet and windy, isn’t most people’s idea of a great way to get to work. But nurses like Erin said they discovered it was just great fun to do some exercise and clear their head after a tough day in the hospital to pedal her way home. “It’s fab!” she said. So bravo Hero Bikers!

C – There’s still no Steve…

A – Hm. You’re right, Clarisse. Your favourite problem solver Steve. Let’s see shall we? Now in at number three are … the Letter-Writing Cousins! This is a bunch of 10 young people, aged from 14 to 24, they’re all cousins and live in various places across France, the Netherlands and Canada. And when the shutdown started they realized there was a big problem for old people living in retirement homes – they stopped getting visits from their family and friends. Mathilde and her cousins decided to cheer them up. They were going to write letters – a nice old-fashioned touch for older people who don’t do Snapchat or Whatsapp or even email. But they didn’t just write letters themselves. They got their friends together, set up a website – it’s called une lettre une sourire – one letter one smile in French – and invited people to write to strangers who were living in old folks’ homes.

C – That’s a lovely idea! Did many people write letters?

A – You bet, Clarisse. So far their website has passed on more than 400,000 letters! The cousins say they’re spreading the “virus of love”. Because of course the people writing and receiving don’t know each other. But both get a thrill. The old person finds out about someone who cares about them. And the letter writers can enjoy the feeling that they’ve made someone smile. And of course we don’t need to live through a pandemic to find ways to get the same result every day!

C – Very true, Alastair. I hope we don’t stop being kind to each other when things go back to normal.

A – Well, we can all try to make sure that doesn’t happen, Clarisse. Anyway, we’re nearly there. On we go to number two in our top 5. And it’s another tale of love. It’s the Hug Inventor from California. Paige, who’s 10, really missed getting hugs from her gran. She could go to her house and stand on the doorstep and talk but they weren’t allow to touch. So Paige came up with a brilliant solution. She got an old plastic shower curtain, some plastic bags, rubber gloves and, can you see where this is going …

C – Hm. Not exactly…

A – Well, she made this amazing Invention. She could hang up the shower curtain in her gran’s front door and there were two sets of long plastic gloves as long as your arm, on either side. You can see the pictures on our website – wow dash news dot eu -. Paige and her gran were able to stand on opposite sides of the seethrough curtain, with their arms through the gloves – and give each other a hug. Brilliant!

C – That’s a very sweet story, Alastair. But there’s still no sign of my favourite inventor, Steve. I’m disappointed.

A – Ah don’t be Clarisse. Now it’s time for our Number One, the winner of our WoW! top five solutions heroes of the COVID crisis. And it is …


A – Steve!

C – Yay! Steve!

A – Yes, Clarisse your favourite and mine. Steve Wamukota, the nine-year-old inventor from Kenya in Africa. The Water Engineer.

C – I thought it was fantastic the way he solved the problem of washing hands.

A – Yes Clarisse. Washing our hands was and will go on being really really important to keep us safe from the virus. And yes, Steve, saw there was a problem with that because in his village lots of people used the same tap out in the open. That meant you would always have a chance of getting the virus on your hands from turning the tap on and off. Solution ? Don’t use your hands to get water. That was Steve’s brilliant piece of inventing. He came up with a system where you can step on a pedal with your foot to tip the water and soap over your hands. It sounds simple. But so many of the best inventions are like that.

C – Simple but really useful. Well done, Steve!

A – And remember, he’s just 9 years old. You don’t need to wait till your older to start thinking up solutions!

C – And I’m glad that we both had the same idea for the winner! Thanks for letting us hear the top 5, Alastair. I’ll see you next time!

A – Great minds think alike, Clarisse! And see you next time!

A – Now, all of you out there. I hope you enjoyed that. Do you have ideas that you think should be on our list of great solutions? If so, head over to wow dash news dot eu and let us know.

Now do you have time for a quick quiz before you go? How well have you been listening? Hm? Here’s five questions on the top 5 heroes.

Number one; Serge and Chantal made dinners for people driving what? Was it ambulances? Was it trucks? Or was it fire engines? Quickly. Answer? It was trucks. All those trucks bringing our food to the shops. The drivers need to eat too!

Ok, here we go, trucking on, second question, people in Scotland gave nurses free what to get to work? Was it bicycles? Was it skis? Or was it roller blades? What do you think? Roller blading nurses? Doctors on skis in Scotland? Yup it was bicycles. They were the Hero Bikes.

So, pedalling on to number three and our letter-writing cousins. How many letters did the old folk receive over the last two months? Was it 10? Was it 10,000? Or was it 400,000 letters? Come on. Give it a guess if you don’t recall. It was over 400,000 letters. The virus of love was really spreading.

And now, we’re nearly done, flying on to the fourth question, and what was the name of the girl in California who invented a hugging curtain for her gran? Was it Paige? Was it Penny? Or was she called Prudence? Hm. Penny, Paige or Pru? Got it? She’s called Paige.

And we’re turning over to the very final question. Question five. Have you got a perfect record so far? Here goes: which country does Steve live in? Steve who invented the hands-free water tap? Hot country… I’ll give you a clue, it’s in Africa. Is it South Africa? Is it Cameroon? Or is Steve from Kenya? Do you remember? Go to our website to look him up? wow-news.eu … No? Out of time. Give it a guess? Steve is from Kenya, in east Africa. Well done if you got more than half of those right! Not easy!

So how was it for you? I hope you’ve had fun. I certainly have.

A – If you’ve enjoyed this WoW! News podcast, do tell your friends. You’ll find lots more videos, podcasts and information at our website wow-news.eu. I’m Alastair and I’ll be back with Clarisse next week with more positive news specially for kids. Until then, stay healthy and be…. Positive!

Alastair editor of WoW!





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