Just Help Each Other
Julia Minenko, 14, Samara



(click on photo to enlarge)



Last spring my parents and I were walking as usual on the banks of the Volga River. Suddenly we saw a stranger in a green overcoat who was lying on the ground. We could tell something was wrong.

My father ran to him and asked the stranger what was wrong. The stranger said one word in English, so my father asked again, this time in English, How are you feeling? What is wrong?

The stranger couldn't say anything because of problems with his heart. At the same time my mother said, Sasha, run to get a policeman. She called the ambulance and told them what she knew at that time. In 30 minutes the stranger was in a hospital.

My parents and I visited him often. After two weeks he was released from the hospital. Later when he came to our house, he said, Nobody helped me. People passed me by. When they couldn't understand my poor Russian, they didn't stop to help.

My father said, It is because of your language and your nationality.

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My mother added, Unfortunately in Russia the attitude toward people from different countries is often not one of kindness and compassion.

Later, after this friendly stranger, Roger, became better, he gave us a present, a green parrot. This is my pet now.

Now I know that this man is no longer a stranger. I know that both he and my parrot are Australians.


I. Understanding the Story
Make three questions asking about the main idea.

II. Vocabulary.
Write a sentence with each word; be clear about the meaning.
1. usual
2. ambulance
3. released
4. compassion

III. Now you Talk
1. How can we get rid of prejudice toward others?
2. What do you think was physically wrong with Roger?
3. How would you act in the situation on the river banks?

IV. Now you Write
1. Write a paragraph about being compassionate to those in need.
2. Write a new ending to this story.
3. Write about Julia going to Australia when she is an adult.

V. Role Play
1. The writers father and the doctor: They discuss Roger's health.
2. The writer and her mother: They tell the grandmother about the rescue.
3. Father and a neighbor: They disagree about helping strangers.
4. The writer and Roger: They talk about why he travels to other countries.
5. The writer and her friend: They argue about kindness to strangers.