Views #516 | Intermediate 5

Life in Africa

Carla talks about a special time in her life.
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Todd: So Carla, you lived in Africa.

Carla: We got married in Africa.

Todd: Wow.

Carla: And we moved to Nigeria. As I told you before, we got married in Ghana, and we moved to Nigeria. And our kids were born in Nigeria. But I wanna tell you a little bit about before our kids were born, because we lived in a place, a small small village that had no running water, no electricity, we could buy fresh food once a week. That means there were no toilettes, so the people used the rocks and the bushes around the village. Maybe that's too graphic, is that too graphic?

Todd: No no no no.

Carla: And, we had to pump our water out of a well. And at night we would pump one bucket full of water, and it would be half full of silt by the next morning the kind of muddy silt would have sunk to the bottom. And then we would pour off the clear water off the top. And it was a bad drought year in 1976. And we had to, we would cook our vegetables and then drain off the water and then use the water, reuse the water to wash the dishes and even to wash our clothes. And we had just enough water to. Fresh water we kept for drinking. Washing ourselves, washing our vegetables, cooking, washing the dishes, we used, reused vegetable water. And I had, we had no electricity so I cooked a stew once a week. And twice or three times a day I had to, we had to heat the stew up again, boil it to kill all the germs. Otherwise, it would've poisoned us.

Todd: Man.

Carla: But in that year that we lived there, I think we were healthier than we had ever been before, or since.

Learn Vocabulary from the lesson


Maybe that's too graphic, is that too graphic.

If something is "graphic," it is very detailed and shows or tells everything.  We usually use this word to refer to movies, photographs or stories.  Notice the following:

  1. I didn't like the movie, because it was too graphic.  I like action movies, but this one had too much blood.
  2. Her stories are always too graphic and make the listeners uncomfortable.


It would be half full of silt by the next morning.

"Silt" is very fine dirt or sand and is usually carried by moving water, like a river.  Notice the following:

  1. After two years in the river the box was almost completely covered by silt.
  2. The water in the lake was full of silt and was not clean to drink.


It was a bad drought year in 1976.

A "drought" is a time when there is very little precipitation, rain or snow, for a long period of time.  Droughts usually cause food problems because plants don't grow without water.  Notice the following:

  1. After the three-year drought, the farmer had to sell his farm.
  2. The river is very low because of the drought, and the boats can't travel through.

heat up

We had to heat the stew up again.

If you "heat something up," you make it hot.  We commonly use this phrase when talking about food.  Notice the following:

  1. There is some coffee left from this morning, I'll heat it up for you.
  2. This soup is a little cold.  Can you heat it up, please?


Boil it to kill all the germs.

A "germ" is microorganism that makes you sick. Microorganisms are so small that you can't see them without a microscope. Notice the following:

  1. You should wash your hands before you eat, to kill all the germs.
  2. I don't want your germs.  Cover your mouth when you cough.

Vocabulary Quiz

graphic • silt • drought
heat up • germs
  1. You can find out a lot about a place by examining the in the water.
  2. I had to turn off the movie, it was too for the kids .
  3. Please wash your hands, who knows what are still on them .
  4. Could you please the leftovers for dinner tonight?.
  5. Let's stock up on supplies in case there is a this summer.
Answer the following questions about the interview.

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