English Listening Practice Audio Green Cake In Gaza
This weeks short Thursday English listening practice audio is about a clever woman who makes green cake in Gaza, it’s not what you are thinking!
Listening to English being spoken by native English speakers is critical to learning to speak English fluently. However you cannot just listen to any old English on the TV or Radio as the English spoken will probably be too fast for you to listen to comfortably.
The audio on TV and Radio is often not clear because several people speak at the same time or there are background noises which distract your attention. TV and Radio will not provide transcripts or stop to explain some tricky vocabulary.
When Adept English looked for audio to help English language learners practice, we found nothing good enough that was free and had a transcript. So we published our own free English listening audio podcasts with transcripts. We created the perfect English listening practice for our English language learning students.
Hi there and welcome to this Thursday podcast from Adept English. This is our short podcast, which is easier to understand than our longer Monday podcast. If you’ve not done it already, sign up for our free course, The Seven Rules of Adept English, so that you can learn how to use our podcasts to maximum benefit. This course contains really important advice for how to improve your language skills. This advice can literally save you years, trying to become fluent in a language!
So a news article which I noticed last week, which was a positive one. Often the news contains a lot of bad or negative stories, so it’s great to read something positive. The news article was about a woman from Gaza, a Palestinian woman called Majd Mashharawi, who trained as a civil engineer. Now a civil engineer is someone trained to oversee the design and the construction of buildings, roads, bridges, airports, railways, sewers. Now Majd Masharawi studied at the Islamic University in Gaza. And she and her business partner, Rawan Abdulatif, have invented something which may prove very helpful to the rebuilding projects in Palestine. They’ve invented something called ‘Green Cake’.
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Now this may sound like something to eat – Green Cake. But no, actually it’s a building material. In Gaza, much of the infrastructure – so ‘infrastructure’ means houses, buildings, roads, bridges – much of the infrastructure needs to be rebuilt, following bombing. Many, many people have been made homeless because their houses have been destroyed by bombs. But the problem is that to make concrete blocks, the cheapest material for building, you need lots of sand, cement and gravel. Gravel, G-R-A-V-E-L means small stones. Sand is what you find on a beach and cement is like the glue, the material that sticks everything else together. So cement, C-E-M-E-N-T is used a lot in building. It’s also a verb in English – ‘to cement’ something means to make it firm, to make it unmoveable. But it’s difficult to get these materials into Gaza at the moment, as there are blockades.
So a ‘blockade’ means that certain things are prevented, stopped from entering a country. And if you want to bring building materials into Gaza there’s a lot of ‘red tape’. So the building industry in Gaza has come to a stop, at a time, when more than ever, there’s a need to rebuild. When we say ‘red tape’ that means there are a lot of legal processes to go through in order to bring the goods into Gaza, which slows things down and makes it difficult. So people who were made homeless some time ago, are still living in shelters, rather than proper houses. So it’s very difficult to get hold of building materials.
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But, what there is a lot of in Gaza is rubble. Rubble, that’s R-U-B-B-L-E, rubble is broken down pieces from damaged buildings. So if you can reuse this material, that would be a great idea, wouldn’t it? So Majd Mashharawi’s idea was to make building blocks out of broken down rubble and something called ‘ash’, mixed with a bit of cement. Apparently, if you want to make bricks, you have to use cement to stick it together. But this way of making building blocks uses a lot less cement than the traditional way. And the other thing the process uses? Ash, A-S-H, well, that’s another material that there’s already a lot of in Gaza.
When you burn something, it produces ash – so that’s the black powder that’s left when you’ve had a fire. And factories in Gaza already produce lots of ash, when they’re making things, like the materials used to build roads. Ash is a ‘by-product’ – and a ‘by-product is something that you produce ‘as well as’ the material you actually want. So normally the ash is thrown away. It’s buried, which causes problems for the environment. So even better if ash can be reused to make building materials!
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Majd Mashharawi is calling her building blocks, her building material ‘Green Cake’. The name is because not only does it help with some of the problems in rebuilding Gaza, but it’s green, it’s better for the environment. So everything that normally would be counted as ‘rubbish’ is reused. It means that these materials are used effectively, recycled, if you like to make new buildings. And Majd Mashharawi also talks about liking her idea, because it means that the people of Gaza can help themselves rebuild. They can do it without outside help.
Now obviously a new building material like ‘Green Cake’ has to go through lots of tests. It’s necessary to make sure it’s safe and it’s strong enough, especially if you’re gong to build tall buildings. So it’s what we call ‘early days’ in the project. ‘Early days’ means that the idea is still being developed. But the blocks are much lighter than normal concrete blocks. And if they don’t mean a huge price for the environment. Maybe other places in the world will be able to use this idea as well, whether that’s just for reusing materials from old buildings or whether that’s because there’s a need to rebuild after bombing.
Anyway – an interesting idea and a great news story. Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.
I like today’s English listening topic. It proves that even in some of the toughest environments for people to live people can still make things better. A smart woman helps build something new from the ashes of things destroyed.
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