This website works best with JavaScript enabled

logo olive

Africa's "Tree of life" (BEPC 2010)

To many, the tree is a gift from God. Why?    "First of all, it can live very long. Perhaps one thousand years or even longer", continues a villager. "It serves us with food, clothes, shelter, necklaces, and even sweets for the children..." What about firewood? "No, the bark is too wet from the water stored in it. We usually look for other trees for that purpose", says young Daniel. "But we use the bark for making ropes." Far more than that, it is used for nets, mats, cloth, hats, boxes, baskets and paper. Ash from the bark can be used as fertilizer, and many make soap out of it. "The young leaves are eaten", adds one of the young mothers, carrying a baby on her back. "We also use the seeds to make coffee, beer and oil."
The fruit has a white pulp around the seeds, very rich in vitamin C, vitamin B 1, and calcium. Shem says, "We sometimes make drinks from the pulp. It tastes like lemon," That's why other people call it the lemon tree. What else is it used for?
Shem replies, "We use almost all parts of the tree. The shell of the fruit is used as a soup bowl and we also use it to catch rats. When our cattle are troubled by insects, we simply burn the fruit pulp, and the smoke serves as a repellent. Sometimes, we mix the pulp flour with milk and get an excellent yoghourt". What about medicine? "Of course, the tree is our pharmacy", Shem replies.
What do we use it for? "Everything!" Because of its many uses, many local people respect the tree, fear it, even worship it. We found out that nursing mothers mix the powdery pulp with milk and give it to their babies in order to prevent the small ones from getting big bellies, dysentery and fever. "Medicine" from the tree is sold in local markets and is said to cure inflammations, toothaches, and other diseases. Locally, it is used to treat anemia, diarrhea, influenza, asthma, kidney problems, respiratory problems, and even tumors. "It is also said that the water in which the tree's seeds have been kept for some time and mixed, acts as protection against crocodile attacks and if someone drinks the bark infusion, he will grow powerful and strong", writes the publication Baobab-Adansonia Digitata. Thus, we have learned many new things about the baobab tree.

Adapted from Awake, March 1995


bark: écorce ;    ash: cendre ;    seed: graine;    shell: coque de fruit

I.    COMPREHENSION (4 points)
Choose and write down on your answer sheet the letter a, b, c or d that is in front of the correct answer:

1) The tree that is mentioned in the text is ...........
a) an unknown tree
b) a lemon tree
c) a baobab tree
d) a coffee tree

2) Why is the bark of the tree useful according to the text?
a) because it cures many diseases
b) because it is used to make oil and beer
c) because it provides sweets for children
d) because it is used as a container to put things in

3) What can be made out of the seed of the tree?
a) ash
b) soap
c) coffee
d) ropes

4) Which parts of the tree are not referred to in the text?
a) the trunk and the roots
b) the fruit and the bark
c) the shell and the seeds
d) the leaves and the bark

5) In the text, a mixture of the powdery pulp and milk prevents children from being ...
a) fat
b) pot-bellied
c) long-bellied
d) obese

6) According to the text, which of the following diseases is not cured by the tree?
a) yellow fever
b) anemia
c) dysentery
d) asthma

7) In the text, it is believed that the bark infusion .........
a) protects against crocodile attacks
b) gives strength and power
c) makes someone grow quickly
d) makes someone develop diseases

8) The text shows that the tree is ...........
a) powerless
b) useful
c) useless
d) poisonous

II.    GUIDED ESSAY (10 points)

1)    According to the text, can we use the tree as a combustible? Why? {2-3 lines} {2pts}
2) Referring to the text, why does Shem say the tree is their "pharmacy"? (2-3 lines) (2pts)
3) Trees are very important. What can be done to protect them? (8-to lines) (6pts)

III.    GRAMMAR    (4 points)

A) Put the adverb in the right place in the following sentences. (1pt)
1) Her uncle has insisted on it. (always)
2) Have you seen a ghost? (ever)

B) Put the verb in brackets into the correct tense. (1pt)
1) They generally (to obey) the regulations concerning alcohol.
2) You just (to cut down) one of my trees.

C) Choose the correct words and complete these sentences. (1pt)

1) Alima cut the meat yesterday, ........

a) so does her mother
b) neither do we
c) so do Bintou and Adama
d) so did I

2) Children should obey their parents, . . ........

a) shouldn't they?
b) should they?
c) won't they?
d) would they?

D) Turn the following sentences into the passive voice. (1pt)

1) People should not do such things.
2) Alice listened to us.


1) Cet arbre est utile.
2) Le baobab devrait être protège.
3) Cet examen est mieux que les autres.
4) Le docteur dit que l'écorce soigne beaucoup de maladies.

#fc3424 #5835a1 #1975f2 #2fc86b #f_syc9 #eef77 #020614063440