lunes, 15 de diciembre de 2014

Sapphire Hunting in Madagascar

BBC reporter Simon Reeve visits Ilakaka, a Madagascan island famous for its sapphires.

Self-study activity:
Watch the video and answer the questions below.

The activity is suitable for intermediate 2 students.

1 What do '10' and '100,000'  refer to?
2 What does Jean use the tube for?
3 What do '18', '10', and '1' refer to?
4 What's in the bags? What do they expect to find there?
5 What often happens to sapphire hunters who die in the holes?

To check your answers you can read the transcript below. 

We've come to Ilakaka. 10 years ago this place was so small it didn't even appear on most maps. Then sapphires were discovered, and a tiny rural hamlet exploded into a modern day wild-west town. An estimated 100,000 poor Madagascans have flocked here to dig their way out of poverty (1). Most take their chances in the ad hoc operations dotted all over the outskirts of town.
Bonjour. Bonjour.
Jean is from Fianarantsoa, 150 miles away. He's the captain of this mine, which is little more than a deep hole in ground, ventilated in the most rudimentary way imaginable.
Oh, my God! This is a breathing tube (2). Can you imagine how dangerous this is? This is just plastic sheeting with a little bit of tape around it to hold it together.
Jean descends down this 18-metre hole up to ten times a day. For this he will make about £1 (3).
God! He's already just disappeared. He's just vanished into the blackness! And this shaft isn't much bigger than a manhole and they've just cut it down, straight down through the ground, there's no bracing on the sides, there's no reinforcement to prevent it caving in. I can just see this tiny man and a shiny torch putting soil into the bag.
He's crawling down a hole under here, to somewhere under the ground deep below there, gathering the soil into bags and then he'll send it back. And each time they're hoping this is the big one, the sapphire they're looking for is in there (4).
Many workers have died down these mines. Often, their families are too poor to recover their bodies and they are simply left at the bottom of the dark holes (5). Here he comes.
Are you OK, Captain? What does your wife think of you doing this dangerous work?
We can only pray and rely on God. The main worry is Will I survive today? But that's the risk of the job, you need to survive, there's nothing else to do.