Living in harmony with the land - PAU inglés Cataluña 2012

>Exámenes selectividad inglés Cataluña resueltos

Himba mother and baby - Tribe indigenous of NamibiaThe Himba live in the northwest of Namibia in the Kunene region, near the river of the same name. The land is the driest and most barren region of Namibia, with less than 250 mm of rain a year. There is little farming and few roads. The mountains are hard to access. The largest town in the region, Opuwo, has only about 5,000 inhabitants. But this impenetrable wilderness has also meant that Himba people have been able to preserve their traditional way of life.
These semi-nomadic people number between 20,000 and 50,000. They live in the northwest of Namibia and mainly breed cows and goats. It is the children’s job to look after the goats and also to grind corn, while the adults look after the cows. Himba society is divided into groups and clans and, unsurprisingly, the head of a clan is its eldest male member.
It has not been easy for the Himba to preserve their traditions. In 1904, when Namibia was ruled by Germany, Himba people were nearly exterminated. Starting in the 1920s, South African rulers confined them to a restricted “homeland,” officially forbidding them to trade, breed farm animals freely, or garden and collect wild plants along the Kunene River. When dry weather and war struck Namibia in the 1980s, it looked as if the culture of the indigenous Himba people might disintegrate. Ninety percent of Himba cattle, the centre of their economy and identity, died. Some families left for Angola. Yet they resisted—even if at times it meant eating the hides they slept on.
With the peace and good rains that came to Namibia in the 1990s, the Himba rebuilt their herds and, working with international activists, helped block a proposed hydro-electric dam that would have inundated ancestral lands along the Kunene. They also have benefited from new opportunities provided by the government of independent Namibia—mobile schools where Himba children learn English and conservancies that give Himba control of wildlife and tourism on their lands. Vengapi Tijvinda, a grandmother in her 50s, lived through this rebirth. In the 1980s she was making baskets for tourists.
Now she has returned to farming and raising cattle: “Life is still the same, but the children can read and write. I am a member of a conservancy, and now we can taste animal meat again”.
In 1996 the government of Namibia made it possible for the Himba to profit from increased wildlife populations through a program that allows them to manage their shared property as a registered conservancy. This programme—officially called the Community Based Natural Resource Management Programme—requires that a group wanting to form a conservancy establish its membership and define the limits of the land they share, write a constitution and elect a governing committee. When the group’s application is accepted by Namibia’s Ministry of Environment and Tourism, the conservancy begins to manage the wildlife and other resources on its land according to principles of sustainable use, while continuing with traditional farming. Because conservancies can also control tourism on their land, they are able to contract with commercial tour operators and establish their own tourist facilities. Because a healthy wildlife population is a big tourist attraction, illegal hunting is down, animal numbers are increasing, and efforts are going into maintaining the natural environment that supports wildlife. And perhaps most important, indigenous people like the Himba, whose lives were for generations largely controlled by outside governments, are regaining local control over the future of their communities.
Text adapted from National Geographic
  • barren: àrid / árido
  • breed: criar
  • grind: moldre / moler
  • cattle: bestiar / ganado
  • hides: pells d’animals / pieles de animales
  • herds: ramats / manadas
  • conservancy: espai protegit / espacio protegido


Reading comprehension

Choose the best answer according to the text. Only ONE answer is possible.

1. The Himba people live in…
  • a rainy region densely populated.
  • a mountainous region with good farming conditions.
  • a dry region badly communicated.
  • a traditional region known for its lakes and rivers.
2. In Himba culture, children…
  • spend most of their time playing in the fields.
  • are taught traditional arts and crafts.
  • are in charge of looking after the cows.
  • play an important role in processing food.
3. According to the text, the Himba people…
  • had to face many adverse circumstances.
  • lost their identity during the German domination.
  • were forced to sell most of their cattle to South African rulers.
  • were given housing and farming land in Angola.
4. In the last decades life for the Himba…
  • has been troubled by monthly rains.
  • has improved in many ways.
  • has been difficult because of international activists.
  • has become much more expensive because of tourism.
5. At present, Vengapi Tijvinda…
  • devotes her time to traditional crafts.
  • has to work in the tourist sector.
  • is finally learning how to read and write.
  • has recovered her old way of life.
6. In a registered conservancy members are supposed…
  • to limit the increase of tourism.
  • to become commercial tour operators.
  • to preserve wildlife and traditional farming.
  • to refuse the property of the land.
7. The government of Namibia is now helping the Himba…
  • to learn how to live away from their land.
  • to control the influence of tourism.
  • to become more autonomous.
  • to defend themselves from wildlife.
8. The story of the Himba is best described as one of…
  • hardship and survival.
  • tradition and wealth.
  • happiness and dreams.
  • leisure and freedom.


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