1. Read the description of what life was like in this remote place:

Why do this?
   To do some reading practice.
   To learn new expressions and vocabulary.
   To see a model for a description.

"The buildings in the labour camp were all much the same: made of grey concrete, with barred windows. The large common rooms had no decoration whatsoever and looked austere and grim. Our block was the lowest. It stood- like the others- around a common yard with no greenery. A tall wall with wires was fenced in the camp.

We used to be woken up at dawn by the wailing of the sirens. It was still dark and biting cold outside the block of flats where we had been allotted but it felt good to sneak out of those greyish, grimy and verminous sheets and blankets. The building squatted on the ice and, in the inside, one felt like living in a rat-hole but, in fact, we were too hungry to try and think of anything except food.

Breakfast was spent on two slices of stale bread and two cups of tea that tasted like lukewarm and dirty tap water. We used to stay silent because we could only concentrate on wolfing the little food we were given. I remember to have seen some birds quietly fly past the windows on some occasions but there weren't too many animals around the area. I hardly ever saw a deer; let alone a polar bear!

We were so underfed that our faces were as white as chalk and one had to smack one's cheeks sharply to bring the colour of blood back to them. There were no gleams of hope for us over those years. We were always so tired and life was so dull, grey and hard that some of us often collapsed in the utterest despair.

Sometimes, on Saturday evenings, we used to gather in one of the halls in the basement and someone would produce a few bottles of vodka out of his torn up pockets. After a couple of hours there was a sort of heavy contentment, the sort of contentment a well-fed beast might feel, in a life which had become so simple."

(inspired by George Orwell's Down and Out in Paris and London)

Note: After reading the text, you may like to go back to your draft on the previous page and make some changes for the better. If you want to do so, go back .


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