It was Christmas 2002, and I was appearing in an opera in London. My career as a singer has always been at the centre of my life, but because my mother had just died, I decided to do what she had asked: I took a year’s sabbatical. I also made another decision. I’d fly to Peru to meet a young man called Nick López.
Ten years earlier, a friend had told me about a charity organization called EveryChild. By giving $20 a month, you could help a young person in a developing country. Nick was five years old, living with his parents and two brothers in a shanty town above Lima. We exchanged letters. I enjoyed reading about his life, although it became clear that his family had to struggle to get by. When he was eight he sent me my favourite photograph, which I still keep in my office. Nick was growing up fast.
So here I was on my way to Lima at last to meet him in person. It was an experience that I’ll never forget. The poverty shocked me. Nick and his family live in a two-roomed house, but Nick was a sweet, shy 15-year-old boy with beautiful manners and real dignity, who kept chickens and sold them to help his family. I had been told that giving him too many presents would single him out from the rest of his community, so I brought T-shirts for him and his brothers, and books about caring for chickens. Meeting Nick has given my life a new perspective.
1. Write a title in English which best summarises the text, and justify your answer (25 – 40 words).
2. Explain in English the meaning of the following expressions as used in the text.
a) would single him out from the rest of his community: This means “would make him different from the rest of the people where he lived.”
b) a developing country: means “a poor country which is making progress and becoming more modern”.
3. Complete the second sentence of each pair so that it has the same meaning as the first one
a) The poverty shocked me.b) Nick and his family live in a two-roomed house.
4. Answer the following questions in your own words. The information must be taken from the text.
a) Why has meeting Nick given the writer’s life a new perspective?
Meeting Nick has changed the writer’s life because she discovered that Nick and his family have to fight hard in order to survive, and as she had probably never met anyone poor, she started to think about life in a different way.
b) What kind of life does Nick have?
5. What kind of charity organization would you give money to, and why?
(Minimum 80 words, maximum 100 words)
I would give money to a charity that helps to protect the environment, such as Greenpeace. This is because in South America and Africa they are cutting down many of the trees so the animals do not have a place to live. Besides, the climate is changing and we are going to have more deserts in the future. Therefore, it is important to fight against the companies and the countries that are responsible. Volunteers from Greenpeace also fight against pollution from ships like the “Prestige” so they deserve our help.
I do not agree with charity organizations, but I think I would give money to an organization that helps children who do not have a mother and father. Our family is the most important thing, so if you do not have your parents, life is very hard. I know an organization which takes these children to a summer camp where they can spend a month having a good time together. If I were rich I would send them a lot of money, but if I were poor I would be a volunteer in their camp.