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Life Stories

“Healing in the Jungle”

This lesson is designed to build your critical-thinking skills in English as you read, listen, and answer different types of comprehension and discussion questions.

Pre-Listening Activities for Teachers

Although these questions are related to classroom instruction, independent learners can reflect on the ideas and topic to prepare for the listening portion of the lesson.

  1. Word Association: Have students brainstorm and discuss words related to the jungle and adventure, such as jungle, hiking, rash, doctor, and communication.

  2. Predict the Plot: After introducing Jason and the Brazilian jungle setting, ask students to predict the challenges or adventures Jason might encounter in the story.

  3. Discussion on Cultural Differences: Facilitate a brief discussion on cultural differences, sharing scenarios of language barriers and asking students to predict how Jason might navigate them in the story.

  4. Picture Analysis: Show a picture of the Amazon rainforest, prompting students to describe what they see and make predictions about its relevance to the upcoming story.


Listen and read the story and answer the questions. 


A listening activity at Randall’s ESL Cyber Listening Lab.

There once was a man named Jason, an adventurous soul with a constant itch for exploring remote and exotic places. One summer, he decided to embark on the ultimate hiking adventure in the heart of the Brazilian jungle. Armed with his backpack, a map, and his trusty camera, he set off into the unknown.

At first, the journey was nothing short of incredible. Jason was mesmerized by the lush greenery, vibrant wildlife, and the sheer thrill of being in the wild.- However, a few days into the expedition, disaster struck.- Jason noticed an uncomfortable rash spreading across his arms and legs, making his jungle escapade anything but enjoyable.

Concerned about his rapidly worsening condition, Jason decided to seek help from a local doctor in a tiny remote village. He stumbled through the jungle trails, desperate to find assistance. Finally, he reached a small hut and eagerly entered, hoping to find relief.

To his surprise, the doctor didn’t speak a word of English. Jason tried to describe his symptoms, but the language barrier was simply insurmountable. He pointed to his rash, mimicking itchiness and discomfort, but the doctor looked baffled, unable to comprehend.

With frustration mounting, Jason attempted to use a translation app on his phone, but technical glitches only added to the comedy of errors. The translations that appeared were gibberish, leaving both Jason and the doctor utterly puzzled.

In a last-ditch effort, Jason resorted to drawing. He sketched crude illustrations of his symptoms, hoping that a picture might speak louder than words. The doctor squinted at the drawings, trying to make sense of the bizarre sketches.

Just when Jason was about to give up hope, the clinic door creaked open, and an old woman shuffled in. She looked at the drawings, chuckled softly, and then proceeded to say something to the doctor in the local language. Suddenly, the doctor’s eyes widened, and he began nodding vigorously.

With newfound enthusiasm, the doctor rummaged through his cabinets and produced a small, wooden container filled with an ointment. Although Jason couldn’t understand a word the doctor said, he trusted the elderly woman’s judgment.

He applied the ointment to his rash, and to his surprise, the discomfort began to recede.-

As the days went by, Jason’s rash continued to heal, and he grew curious about the mysterious ointment. Through gestures and body language, the doctor managed to convey that the recipe for the ointment had no name, but it had been passed down from father to son for generations. The doctor’s family had been the guardians of this secret healing concoction, and they used it to cure various ailments in the jungle.

Eager to learn more, Jason asked if he could see the ingredients of the ointment. The doctor smiled and showed him a collection of peculiar items: exotic leaves, tree bark, peculiar-looking roots, and a few insects that Jason had never seen before in his life.-

As the doctor mixed the ingredients, a pungent smell filled the room, and Jason couldn’t help but wrinkle his nose. The ointment looked terrible, with its murky, brownish hue, but he trusted the doctor’s expertise.

Over time, Jason got used to the ointment’s unpleasant smell and appearance, realizing that its magical healing properties far outweighed its less-than-pleasant qualities.

He continued to explore the Brazilian jungle, often returning to the doctor to share his adventures and the elderly woman, who became his impromptu interpreter and friend. The villagers, amused by the entire situation, would often greet Jason with warm smiles, knowing he was part of the “Rash-Healing Wanderer” legend.

One evening, as Jason sat by a crackling campfire, surrounded by the friendly villagers, he marveled at the unexpected turn of events. Who would have thought that a pesky rash and a language barrier would lead to such fascinating discoveries and heartwarming friendships?

And so, the quirky tale of Jason, the adventurer with an uncomfortable rash, and the generations-old nameless ointment came to a close, leaving behind a lasting memory of a jungle expedition filled with laughter, camaraderie, and the magic of ancient remedies.

Comprehension Questions: Self-Grading Quiz

Comprehension Questions in Text Format

1. While hiking in the jungle, Jason ________.
a) encountered a rare species of bird
b) discovered a hidden waterfall
c) developed an uncomfortable rash
d) found a treasure chest

2. How did Jason communicate with the doctor initially?
a) He spoke fluent Portuguese.
b) He used a translation app on his phone.
c) He wrote letters in English.
d) He used hand gestures and drawings.

3. What was special about the healing ointment given to Jason?
a) It had a sweet fragrance
b) Its name was “Jungle Magic”
c) It was passed down through generations
d) It had been recently invented

4. What was Jason’s initial reaction to the ointment’s appearance and smell?
a) He loved its exotic fragrance.
b) He found it unappealing.
c) He was indifferent to it.
d) He couldn’t smell due to his rash.

5. What did the villagers call Jason after he was healed by the ointment?
a) The Jungle Explorer
b) The Language Barrier Hero
c) The Rash-Healing Wanderer
d) The Mystery Medic


1. Answer: c) Developing an uncomfortable rash

Explanation: Jason’s hiking adventure took an unexpected turn when he developed an uncomfortable rash while exploring the Brazilian jungle.

2.  Answer: d) Through hand gestures and drawings

Explanation: Faced with a language barrier, Jason initially communicated with the doctor using non-verbal methods, such as hand gestures and drawings.

3. Answer: c) It was passed down through generations

Explanation: The healing ointment was special because it had been passed down through generations in the doctor’s family, emphasizing its traditional and cultural significance.

4. Answer: b) He found it unappealing

Explanation: Jason initially found the appearance and smell of the ointment unappealing, highlighting the cultural differences in the perception of remedies.

5.  Answer: c) The Rash-Healing Wanderer

Explanation: The villagers affectionately nicknamed Jason “The Rash-Healing Wanderer” after he was healed by the special ointment, reflecting the impact of his adventure on the local community.

Discussion Questions

Intermediate Level (Analysis):

  1. What was the main problem or challenge that Jason faced in the story?

  2. How did Jason try to communicate with the doctor in the village clinic?

  3. What was the special quality of the healing ointment the doctor used on Jason’s rash?

  4. Why did the villagers nickname Jason “The Rash-Healing Wanderer”?

  5. How did humor play a role in Jason’s interactions with the doctor and the villagers?

  6. Explain the significance of the language barrier in the story. How did it impact the communication between Jason and the doctor?

  7. Compare and contrast the traditional healing methods used by the doctor in the Brazilian jungle with modern medicine.

  8. Explore the theme of unexpected friendships in the story. How did Jason’s relationships with the doctor and the elderly woman evolve?

Advanced Level (Critical Thinking):

  1. Analyze the cultural aspects portrayed in the story. How does the narrative challenge or reinforce stereotypes about communication in non-English-speaking regions?

  2. Evaluate the effectiveness of non-verbal communication in the story. How did Jason’s use of gestures and drawings impact the overall narrative?

  3. Reflect on the cultural significance of the healing ointment that was passed down through generations. How does it symbolize the intersection of tradition and modernity?

  4. Explore the psychological and social implications of humor in cross-cultural encounters. How does laughter contribute to bridging gaps between people who don’t share a common language?

  5. Consider the long-term impact of Jason’s interactions on the villagers and his own perspective. How might this experience influence his future travels and cultural interactions?

Language Game

Here’s a possible classroom language game based on the story and topic:

Objective: To reinforce vocabulary, improve language skills, and encourage creative expression.

Materials Needed:

  • Flashcards with vocabulary words from the story.
  • Whiteboard or large paper.
  • Timer.


  1. Vocabulary Toss:

    • Scatter flashcards with words from the story on a table.
    • Students take turns tossing a small object (like a soft toy) onto the table.
    • When the object lands on a flashcard, the student must use that word in a sentence related to the story.
  2. Word Connection Relay:

    • Divide the class into two teams.
    • Write down a few keywords from the story on the whiteboard or large paper.
    • One person from each team runs to the board, connects two words with a sentence, and tags the next team member.
    • The team with the most creative and accurate connections wins.
  3. Jungle Charades:

    • Create a list of actions, events, or vocabulary words from the story.
    • Students take turns acting out the word without speaking while others guess.
    • Encourage creative gestures and expressions related to the jungle adventure.
  4. Story Reconstruction:

    • Write a series of key events or vocabulary words from the story on separate flashcards.
    • Students work in groups to arrange the flashcards in the correct chronological order, creating their version of the story.
    • Each group then presents their version, encouraging discussion and creativity.
  5. Language Barrier Pictionary:

    • Create a list of key terms related to the language barrier, communication, and cultural aspects of the story.
    • In pairs or small groups, students play a Pictionary-style game, drawing and guessing words without speaking.
    • The challenge is communicating the words using only drawings, similar to Jason’s non-verbal communication in the story.

Variation: Include additional challenges, such as using certain words in questions, incorporating gestures, or telling a short improvised story using the vocabulary.

  1. adventure
  2. amazon
  3. backpack
  4. barrier
  5. communication
  6. compassionate
  7. compass
  8. curious
  9. doctor
  10. explore
  11. friend
  12. gesture
  13. healing
  14. hike
  15. insect
  16. itch
  17. jungle
  18. language
  19. map
  20. ointment
  21. rash
  22. traveler
  23. trek
  24. uncharted
  25. tranquility
  26. indigenous
  27. foliage
  28. navigate
  29. discovery
  30. water

Different AI technologies, including ChatGPT and an AI voice generator, were used in a collaborative way to prepare the content for this lesson.
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