Interview of Barbara Njuguna
Interviewed for the UCLA Center for the Study of Women’s Chemical Entanglements: Oral Histories of Environmental Illness series. Lives with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS). Activist blogger who writes about nickel allergy. Her blog, Nickely Challenged, features her writing on her journey of nickel allergy.
- Chemical Entanglements: Oral Histories of Environmental Illness
- Social MovementsEnvironmental Illness
- Biographical Note:
- Interviewed for the UCLA Center for the Study of Women’s Chemical Entanglements: Oral Histories of Environmental Illness series. Lives with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS). Activist blogger who writes about nickel allergy. Her blog, Nickely Challenged, features her writing on her journey of nickel allergy.
- Njuguna, Barbara
- Persons Present:
- Njuguna and Yiu
- Place Conducted:
- The interview was conducted using the Zoom video conferencing platform.
- Supporting Documents:
- Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library’s Center for Oral History Research.
- Interviewer Background and Preparation:
- This interview was conducted by Wei Si Nic Yiu, a graduate student researcher, for the Center for the Study of Women in cooperation with UCLA Center for Oral History Research; PhD student in Gender Studies, UCLA. Yiu’s dissertation focuses on queerness and archives of Asia.
- Processing of Interview:
- The interviewer prepared for the interview by reading a pre-interview questionnaire completed by the narrator.
- 1.5 hrs
- Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
- Series Statement:
- Chemical Entanglements: Oral Histories of Environmental Illness is a collection of interviews with over seventy individuals living in the U.S. and Canada whose family history, occupation, art practice, or activism have brought them into direct contact with illness experience and disability related to chronic, low-dose exposure to toxicant chemicals. The procurement of this collection (from March 2019 through September 2020) was sponsored by the UCLA Center for the Study of Women under the directorship of Rachel C. Lee, with interviews conducted by six undergraduates, five graduate students, two career staff, and two faculty members at CSW.
Personal background--Onset and progression of various allergies and sensitivities--Feeling of being othered--Resists mental health diagnosis and stigma for illness--Effects of race and gender on experience of not being listened to--Experiences of racism in seeking workplace accommodation and housing--Difficulty finding non-smoking housing and financial impact of frequent moves--Impact of illness on work and relationships with colleagues--Seeking disability accommodation in the workplace--Dearth of environmental doctors and lack of affordability--Impact of class on ability to manage illness--Experiences of disbelief and invalidation from doctors--Impact of illness on intimate, work, and social relationships--Low-nickel diet--Nickely Challenged blog as activism--Financial impact of illness--Ideas for alleviating financial burden on people with environmental illness--Pursuing integrative and functional medicine doctors--Educating others on navigating nickel allergy--Social isolation--Impact of race and gender identity on experience of illness--Learning to advocate for oneself--Changes in perception of illness over time