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Nature’s fury

Read the story below and answer the questions that follow.

Juan was screaming and yelling. The fire chief tried to console her. “Send helicopters in there, send helicopters in there. My whole family is trapped in there” she yelled. The fire chief ushered her to safety. She needed to be evacuated. Mothers were crying, children were crying, men were out there trying to see if there was an iota of hope left. The air was stricken with grief, torment and it was like hell. The earth was angry. The earth had unleashed her fury to the residents of this little village of Escuintla.

There was no serious prior indication. The geologists picked up the waves and signals a little late and by the time warning was issued, disaster had already struck. There was no time to pack out of the community. That was the thing about nature, it could be so unpredictable and could deal such a foul blow sometimes.

The Volcano of Fire VoF hadn’t erupted in tens of years. It seemed like all this while, she was brewing the molten lava.  Suddenly it burst forth. The earth could not contain her anymore, the hot liquid found its way to the surface of the earth, travelling up to forty miles away and about 5000 metres above sea level. The villages worst hit were Los Lotes and El Rodeo. People were melted alive, being covered in hot fluid alive. What a drastic way to die. People scampered for safety.  Emergency services arrived. Not very much could be done because of poor visibility and the volcanic ash in the air. Planes could not land, copters could not fly. It was bad. Really bad.

There was a need to get the few people out of the village. Juan wouldn’t want to go. Her three children were in the inferno. Her husband was inside that hot liquid. Her mother and father were missing and her relatives had all disappeared. In a moment of the earth unleashing her fury, there has been a huge divide between her life filled with people, to sadness, emotion laden, sorrow, grief, uncertainty, fear and loneliness. This was what nature’s unleashing its terror did to the quiet village of Escuintla in Guatemala.

Juan had spent her whole life dreaming of when she will be eventually free and such a proud mother. Years of toiling and nursing her family seemed to dissolve right before her eyes. The nights she spent at the hospital with her daughter when she had to go through the medical procedure to correct the deformity in her bones. The times she spent in the United states for further surgeries and how she nurtured her daughter back to life again. She started school hobbling, being the centre of tease, and finally after all the surgeries, she began to stabilize, began to walk, began to run, ended up sprinting for her school and then graduated from primary school to high school in flying colours. Maria proceeded to high school and became a flyer, in both academics and sporting events. She was the cynosure of all eyes. Juan’s husband Esplendido worked in the sugar fields from morning till night six days a week to provide succour for the family.

Maria graduated amongst the best top ten in her high school and left for the States to study medicine. She was on a scholarship. She was like the light of the family. Considering how she was born deformed and all the medical journey the family had to go through to get her to walk, it was a miracle that, she did not only excel in academics but sports.

It was normal for her to visit her parents and siblings during her holidays. She loved spending time with her mum and siblings. Her physical presence always generated a lot of warmth and hope, not just to her immediate family but to those from the community. Her story was alive. Her presence generated hope to hopeless people because of her turn around in life. And then the cruel hands of disaster snatched her away. Juan could not take it. Where was Esplendido, he was missing. Juan’s aged parents could not make it out. They were frail and that’s why they had moved in to stay with the Esplendido’s so that they could be supported. When the few people saw the inferno rolling over, that hot liquid cascading down, they took off. Again nature played a trick on the physically challenged and it was so difficult to leave your loved ones behind. It was either you scampered for safety or you stayed back and got roasted with them.

In the pandemonium that broke out, people ran helter skelter. No one really took notice of who was with who. The key word was survival. The key word was flee. The key word was safety. It was until one reached a relative place of safety that family members were sought after and head count taken. That was when the reality dawned on folks that, the much dreaded thought of “were they trapped started playing on people’s minds?”

You would not want to in the slightest imagination think that your family has been melted by that dreary liquid or suffocated in the heat that accompanied the liquid. That death was too severe and harsh to contemplate, yet in the starkest reality, that was probably the scenario. Charred bodies and unidentifiable bodies. Of what use will a DNA testing do? Give the charred body a funeral? Be settled that, there is no hope or possibility that he or she could have been alive? Dread dread dread!!!

Babies crying, the stench of grief in the air, the emergency services overwhelmed with balancing professional work and stabilizing emotionally those who made it out. It was tough! This has been the most violent eruption in more than a century. It waited till Maria had entered her final year in medical school. It waited till it was the season for Maria to come visiting, before it unleashed its fury. What a cruelty! Juan did not lose hope. The very hopeless situation in Maria’s life that was transformed into a life of expectations made Juan hopeful. It reminded Juan of Maria’s favourite book – Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. Maria survived a hopeless childhood and turned out to be amongst the best. Juan held hope, Juan encouraged herself that, Maria somehow will be safe and those around her will be safe too. She represented that hope. She was that symbol of transcending the barriers of hopelessness. “Maria is fine, she has been a survivor. She will survive this. I will see her again and all those with her will make it”- Juan consoled herself as she got nudged into the truck.

 

Uwem Mbot Umana©2018

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Now answer the following questions  (44 marks)

 

 

  1. Find an example of personification in the first paragraph. (1 mark)

 

  1. Why were the villagers unprepared for the eruption? (1 mark)

 

  1. How do we know that Juan had worked hard for her family? (5 marks)

 

  1. Why was Maria special to Juan? Explain using your own words. (5 marks)

 

  1. Write a newspaper headline for the main event of this story. (5 marks)

 

  1. Look at the last paragraph. Find three words or phrases that describe the severity of the situation. (5 marks)

 

  1. Why does Juan believe Maria has survived? (10 marks)

 

  1. Use each of these words to write a sentence of your own. Console, prior, drastic. (9 marks)

 

  1. How far did the lava travel? (1 mark)

 

  1. Which villages are we told were affected by the eruption? (2 marks)

 

 

  1. Longer writing task (50 marks).

Write a diary entry describing how you feel about the whole situation. Diaries are written in the first person. You can write in the present tense or past tense. Diaries communicate the deepest feelings. (

Example:

As I read the story I could not help wondering why nature has to be so fierce at some places. I am fortunate to live in a place like England where we do not have volcanic eruptions…

 

Speaking task

Do a one minute video that shows your personal feelings about the story. Please do the video on a well lit area. You don’t have to wear a suit or dress up as if you are going for a party. Just be yourself.

Please post it on the Junior Academy WhatsApp platform. Thank you.

7 Comments

  1. ANSWERS
    1. Juan was screaming and yelling.

    2. They were unprepared because they didn’t know it would happen.

    3. For you to now is that juan is special she would visit her family every chance she gets and she is always there for them.

    4. Maria was special to juan because Maria was all ways responsible she loved and cared for him.

    5. BREAKING NEWS
    The nature fury house got burnt down.

    6. a.survivor
    b.hopelessness
    c.transcending

    7. Juan believed Maria will survive because she knew that Maria was hopeless but now she is the best so he had. faith in her.

    8. a. John was ready to make drastic changes to his work.
    b. I had witnessed his reaction the prior night.
    c. he returned to the console and turned it off.

    9. It was travelling up to forty miles away and about 5000 metres above sea level.

    10. The villages are Los Lotes and El Rodeo.

  2. 1) Example of personification in the first paragraph include; a) The earth was angry. b) The earth had unleashed her fury. b) The air was stricken with grief.
    2) The villagers were unprepared because there had been no substantial indication before the eruption. The geologist had picked up the signals late, when the disaster had already struck.
    3) We know that Juan worked hard for her family from the part in the story that says: … years of toiling and nursing her family seemed to dissolve before her eyes
    4) Maria was special to Juan because of all they had pass through. Any mother who has the experience of seeing her child overcome a terrible ordeal and come out great will definitely be attached to that child. Juan had gone through a lot with Maria. Maria had been deformed, had gone through surgeries and social castigation. As we know, when a child suffers the mother suffers too, and a child’s success is also success and glory to the mother. Despite all Maria’s early challenges, she rose to greatness. This is why Maria was special to Juan. She filled Juan, her mother, with hope.
    5) BREAKING NEWS: TRAGEDY STRIKES ESCUINTLA AS VOLCANO ERUPTS KILLING AND MAIMING MANY…
    6) Horrible. Cataclysmic. Tragic.
    7) Juan is hoping. She believes that her daughter would not survive a tumultuous childhood, Excel and then be suddenly snatched away by the cruel hands of death, now, that she was near the peak of her success. Juan believes that for Maria to survive and Excel despite all the challenges thrown at her by life, she is destined for greatness and simply cannot just die. Juan hopes.
    8) Consoled — If Maria dies, there would be no words soothing enough to console Juan.
    Prior — The disaster could not be averted because there was no prior knowledge about it.
    Drastic — The government needs to take drastic measures to tackle the needs of the citizens of Escuintla.
    9) About forty miles away and 5000 metres above sea level.
    10) Escuintla, Los Lotes and El Rodeo
    11) As I read this story, great sadness filled my heart. I felt really bad and also very scared. I could easily picture the horrors of the catastrophe and I realized that tragedies like the one described in the story have occurred a lot in different places. I’m glad that in all the years of my life, I’ve never been the victim of a natural disaster.
    One of my greatest fears as a child has been the fear of natural elements. Stories and news of natural disasters instill cold fear in me because these disasters are seemingly capricious and only God holds the reins of nature.
    I feel so sad, I ask myself, why? Why is nature so violent at times? Why does the earth act occasionally as if it had been sent on a mission to wring deepest tears from the eyes of men. Despite how beautiful nature is, it has its own evils. Nature is like a rose, a rose is beautiful and attractive but it has thorns.
    From the beginning of time man’s greatest fear has been towards nature’s magnificence. Nature has been and will always be awesome inspiring to man. The early men viewed the various elements of nature as supernatural gods. They attributed these powerful and especially disastrous aspects of nature to the actions of God’s, such as Zeus, who the Greeks saw as the god of the sky and thunder, Ra, the Egyptian God of the sun, Frey, the Norse god of spring time, and lots others.
    I really pray that help will reach everyone in any part of the world who is suffering from the effects of any form of natural disasters, be it tsunami, tornado, hurricane, earthquake, volcanic eruption, storms or flood.
    I really dream of a time when man will be so technologically advanced that we would be able to foretell, take precautions and perhaps prevent natural disasters years before they occur. I really, really hope that one day I will be in a position to help people and the world against disasters.
    I wonder why any kind of settlement would be built close to a volcanic mountain. Personally, I think a volcano must be deemed inactive through extensive and intensive professional assessment for at least sixty years before any kind of settlement is established in it’s purlieu. Even when established, systems should be put in place to monitor volcanic actions. That is what I would do, if I am in a position to do so.

  3. No1.) “The earth had unleashed her fury to the residents of this little village of Escuintla”.
    No2.) Because the geologists didn’t pick up the waves and signals on time to warn the people.
    No3.) We know that Juan worked hard for her family from the fact mentioned in the text: “Years of toiling and nursing her family…”. She had put in a lot of effort to raise her family well, (Maria most especially). And Maria ended up being a very great blessing to her family.
    No4.) Maria was special to Juan because: She was able to excel, both academically and in the area of sports (against all odds). Maria was born with a deformity in her bones. She went through a lot in order to correct the problem. And, fortunately for her, the problem was corrected.
    Maria was “the center of tease” in her school because; “She started school hobbling…”. But she didn’t let her hardships get in the way; as she excelled in her academics and in the field of sports. Maria was “the cynosure of all eyes”. She was the joy and hope of her mother, Juan.
    No5.) Volcano of Fire (VoF), releases her fury on Escuintla village after waiting for 10s of years!
    No6.) (i.) “…the stench of grief in the air…”
    (ii.) “…the most violent eruption…”
    (iii.) “…it unleashed its fury…”
    No7.) Juan believed that Maria had survived because: Maria had been an overcomer throughout her life! Her life had been a story of “light in the dark”. Maria had suffered a lot in her life (due to the deformity in her bones), but she was able to get back on her feet and continue to run her race!
    Maria had been a “cynosure” to all who knew her, because of the hope that sprung up in her seemingly hopeless situation. And, because she had been able to overcome her situation, Juan had hope that her daughter, Maria, had survived the disastrous volcanic eruption.
    No8.) (i.) console—The officer tried his best to console her after the bad news was broken forth.
    (ii.) prior—The students had put everything in place prior to the day of the ceremony.
    (iii.) The loss of Ricky’s two legs at an early age had a drastic effect on her mental health.
    No9.) Up to 40 miles, and about 5000 meters above sea level.
    No10.) Escuintla—:(i.) Los Lotes
    (ii.) El Rodeo
    No11.) As I began reading the story, I was frightened! From the way the story began, with screaming and yelling, and with so much confusion at the scene, it was quite the worrisome way. As the story progressed, I was able to notice that, a volcano had erupted. But, sadly, the people residing nearby had not been informed and warned about it early enough. How unfortunate!
    People were burnt alive, others suffocated by the choking fumes of lava, and fortunately, some escaped. The very thought of people being burned alive sends shivers up my spine! I mean…why does nature behave so cruel at times? It really saddens me to read about innocent people die in such cruel ways.
    Well, in every story, there’s always the good news and the bad news. Although the story began with the bad news, it ended on a quite positive note. A major character in the story, Juan, was able to restore her lost hopes. (Although there was a possibility that her entire family were either burned, or suffocated in the fiery scene).
    I, personally, admire the love Juan had for her daughter, Maria. And I equally admire the good quality of hope that Maria had influenced her mother and her family by. If not for that hope, who knows what may have become of Juan. She could have easily run mad, or have had an attack, or the unmentionable could have happened.
    I have learnt, that in whatever situation we find ourselves in, we should NEVER LOSE HOPE!!!

  4. 1  The earth was angry.

    2. There was no prior indication. The geologists picked up the waves and signals a little late and by the time the warning was issued, disaster had already struck. So, there was no time to pack out of the community.

    3. Well, according to the writer, especially as she watched the fire, her whole life was told to us. Juan had spent her entire life dreaming of when she will be free. Years of toiling and nursing her family seemed to dissolve right before her eyes. The nights she spent at the hospital with her daughter when she had to go through the medical procedure to correct the deformity in her bones. The times she spent in the United states for further surgeries and how she nurtured her daughter back to life again. Her husband spent much time at work, so that means that Juan took care of the family alone.

    4. Maria was special to Juan because as we know that when a child suffers, the mother suffers too. A child’s success is also the mother’s success and glory. Despite Maria’s early challenges in life, she rose to greatness. This is why Maria  was special to Juan. She filled Juan, her mother, with hope. “Maria was simply a miracle. No one knew the would even function at all but she has excelled both academically and even in sports“.

    5. BREAKING NEWS. VOLCANO ERUPTS KILLING AND MAIMING MANY IN  Escuintla, Los Lotes and El Rodeo.

    6.                                                                                                                                                                             
    a. Horrible
    b. Drastic
    c. The stench of grief in the air

    7. Juan hopes and believed that her daughter would survive. How could she just die now that she was too close to success? Juan thought to herself. “Maria is fine, she has been a survivor. She will survive this. I will see her again and all those with her will make it”.

    8. Console: It won’t be easy to console Juan if Maria dies.                                                                                               
    Prior: The problem would have been solved if there was prior knowledge.               
    Disaster: It will not have been a disaster if the people got to know about the situation.

    9. About forty miles away and about 5000 meters above sea level. 

    10.  Escuintla.Los Lotes and El Rodeo.

      11. As I read the story I began to wonder how it would feel to be melting alive or to be burning in fire?
    I really like the role Maria and Juan played. I will love to behave the way they behaved in the story. I will also love to come out in flying colors. I never knew that nature could be so cruel at times.
    Maria’s dad (Espledido) works at a-sugar field from morning to night to raise money for the family.I pray that God help those who are suffering. 

  5. 1. The earth was angry.

    2. The villagers were unprepared because the radar didn’t pick the eruption on time and it hadn’t happened in years.

    3. This is because she dreamt of when she will be free from all the years of toiling and nursing her family and the endless labour for caring for her daughter. She couldn’t imagining everything vanishing away.

    4. She was special because she was born with a deformity in her bones. So much time, energy and sleepless nights had been spent to see that she was alive and successful.

    5. The Volcanic Eruption at Esuintla.

    6.i. The stench of grief in the air.
    II. The barriers of hopelessness.
    III. Before it unleashed it fury.

    7. She believed she would survive, because, she survived a hopeless childhood and turned out to be among the best, inspite of her live threaten condition. She encouraged herself that Maria will survive the eruption also.

    8.i. My Mother tried to console my sister after she had an injury.
    II. My Mother told me to read my books prior to the examination.
    III. The sudden change in her is very drastic.

    9. The hot liquid travelled up to 40 miles away and 5,000 metres above sea level.

    10. The villages affected were:
    Esuintla, Los Lotes, and El Rodeo.

    11. This past week I read a very touching story titled “Nature’s Fury”. This was on a very sad note, a Volcanic eruption strock a village unexpectedly and took so many lives and destroyed properties. Families, friends and loved ones were either dead or badly injured. This show how years of labour and sacrifices can be brought to an end in a very short time without warning. I learnt from this story that my plans can be changed by nature.

  6. 1. The air was stricken with grief.

    2. Because there was no previous clue. “The geologist picked up the waves and signals a little late and by the time warning was issued, disaster had already struck.’

    3. Juan is a special person. She would take care of her family. She is always there for them. According to the story: “Juan had spent her whole life dreaming of when she will be eventually be free…….The times she spent in the United states for further surgeries and how she nurtured her daughter back to life again.” She was truly a devoted mother.

    4. Maria was special to Juan because “she has watched Juan go through the most challenging times in her life as an infant and overcame. Maria was simply a miracle. No one knew she would even function at all but she has excelled both academically and even in sports”. On the last paragraph, in the midst of Juan’s hope for Marias survival, the writer tells us that: “Maria survived a hopeless childhood and turned out to be amongst the best”.

    5. BREAKING NEWS: VOLCANIC LAVA EXPLOSION in ESCUINTLA, LOSLOTES AND EI RODEO.

    6.
    a. Most violent eruption 
    b. Very hopeless situation
    c. The most violent eruption in more than a century.

    7. Juan believed that Maria would survive because “Maria survived a hopeless childhood and turned out to be amongst the best”. Maria “represented that hope. She was that symbol of transcending the barriers of hopelessness. Also in talking to herself she said, “Maria is fine, she has been a survivor. She will survive this. I will see her again and all those with her will make it Juan consoled herself as she got nudged into the truck”.
    ”.

    8.
    a. Console: The people consoled them about the loss of their homes.
    b. Prior: There would have been a prior indications about the volcanic explosions. 
    c. Drastic: In the end, she made a drastic over-calculation and lost the ground battle.

    9. About forty miles away and 5000 meters above sea level.

    10. Escuintla., Los Lotes and EI Rodeo.

    11. Wow1 What a shame! I never knew that nature could be so unfriendly. I have never known nature was this bad. As for Maria’s life, at a point I am comforted that people that suffer like this can still succeed in life.
            And Juan, Juan is such a wonderful person, my feelings for her are more than the feeling of Maria. She has helped her family in so many ways. 
            Why does nature consume the world? So nature is one of the things man fears especially an explosion. In my journey of life, truly I am learning. But please Dear God may Juan’s family be safe. Amen

  7. 1. The earth had unleashed her fury.

    2. The villagers were not prepared because the radar didn’t pick the volcanic eruption on time and this has not happened in many years.

    3. She looked forward to when she would rest from toiling and nursing her family for many years. She just couldn’t believe that everything would be destroyed.

    4. She was special because she was born with a deformity in her bones, so much labour and money had gone in to see that she survived.

    5. The Sudden Eruption Of Fire In Escuintla.

    6.i. Babies crying.
    II. The most violent eruption.
    III. What a cruelty.

    7. She survived a hopeless childhood and eventually became one of the best in sports and academy. Inspite of everything she had gone through, Juan believed that she would survive this again.

    8.i. My friend will console his brother who lost his bag.
    II. I was ready prior to the time of the class.
    III. The effect of the volcanic eruption was drastic.

    9. It travelled 40 miles away and 5,000 metres above sea level.

    10. The villages were : Escuintla, Los Lotes, El Rodeo.

    11. Today after reading a very sad story titled “Nature’s Fury”. I could only imagine, how life can be unfair. Villages got hit suddenly by a volcanic eruption that took lives of many people and left many injured and lot of properties were destroyed. Life Truely is what you can plan, but everything you have laboured for many years can be destroyed all at once. This story was a real disaster I learnt that things can change at any time.

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