Norway has the highest standard of living in the world and Niger the lowest, according to the UN's Human Development Index. The index takes into account life expectancy and education as well as income per person. South Africa's AIDS epidemic has left it in 120th place in the rankings, despite its relatively high income. The country has fallen 35 places since 1990.
原来所谓的HDI就指的是human development index，这个指数综合了一个国家人民的寿命，受教育程度以及人均收入这些因素。上图排在首位的是挪威，毋庸置疑人家的日子过得潇洒;咱们大中国排在了85位，仍需努力啊;排在最后的是尼日尔，那么为什么这个国家这么悲催呢，请看报道：
Niger is once again in the grip of a food crisis, if not a full-blown famine. The distress sales of livestock, the heavy migration and the deprivation the country suffered in the early 1970s have all revisited it again this year. Niger is, by the reckoning of the UN’s Human Development Index, the poorest place on earth. Most of its inhabitants eke out a living growing subsistence crops on small plots of dusty, infertile land. Despite this agricultural bias, the drought-stricken country cannot feed itself, even in good years. An estimated 2.5m people out of a total of 17m have no secure source of food. When harvests fail, which they do almost annually, that number shoots up. In 2012, when the worst of the recent food crises ravaged the Sahel region, almost a quarter of Niger’s population was said to be going hungry, prompting desperate relief campaigns by international donors.
看完第一句话咱们就明白了，尼日尔在闹饥荒呀，in the grip of 就是被控制的意思，尼日尔现在整个国家都在被饥荒虐了，家畜不好卖，大量的人口迁移。尼日尔的人民只能在灰常贫瘠的土地上种植口粮强维持生计。eke out a living 就是勉强度日的意思，用来形容保守贫穷折磨的人们再合适不过了。在这个旱灾多发的国家，即使在good years丰年，人们也没有足够的食物。尼日尔17oo万人口中就有250万人没有固定的食物来源啊，也就是说这些人吃了上顿没有下顿。那么在灾年的时候，这个没饭吃的人就更多了。这可谓是饥饿肆虐。food crises ravaged the Sahel region...ravage 就是表达蹂躏，毁坏的意思，那我们这个用法就可以总结成： 灾难+ravage+地区。下面我们接着看一下尼日尔的人民是处在怎样一个水深火热的情况中的：
HAOWA was already struggling to feed five children before she gave birth to triplets in the Gabi region of southern Niger 19 months ago. Now, when her babies scream for food she often finds herself helpless. “If they cry and I have nothing to give them, then I must let them cry,” she says, cradling two infants who bear the hallmarks of malnutrition. Their hair is yellowing, their bellies are distended and their expressions glazed. They lack the energy to shake the flies from their faces. It is a dismal but depressingly common picture in west Africa’s largest country.
看完这段话第一个赶脚就是当地的孩子太苦逼了，营养不良，肚子肿胀，双眼无神，饿到连把脸上的苍蝇赶走的力气都没有了。但是话说食物这么少，为什么妈妈还要生那么多孩子呢。文章中说这位妈妈本来养活五个孩子就已经很勉强了，然后这位妈妈又生了三个孩子，这不就是add salt on the injuries,雪上加霜嘛，我们继续看：
This perpetual food crisis is compounded by doggedly high fertility rates. With an average of 7.6 children per woman, Niger has the world’s highest rates. Poverty, ignorance and poor access to contraception are contributing factors, as are cultural issues like competition between wives. Men in Niger tend to be polygamous, and local doctors note that their spouses often try to prove their value by outdoing each other in child births. This contributes to Niger having the highest population growth rate on earth. At current projections, the number of inhabitants will more than triple between now and 2050 to 55m.
尼日尔居高不下的人口出生率也是导致漫长饥荒的重要因素。doggedly 表示顽强地，那么doggedly high 就是指居高不下的。尼日尔平均每个女人生7.6个孩子，这是世界上最高的人口出生率。贫穷加上对避孕的无知已经缺少避孕的途径导致了尼日尔的人口出生率极其地高。然而另一个文化层面的因素我们也不能或略，就是妻子之间的竞争。尼日尔是一夫多妻制。也就是多个女人天天围着同一个男人转。那么如何使自己在丈夫的其他老婆中胜出呢，这么女人们就靠多生孩子来证明自己的价值，按照这个速度发展，到2050年尼日尔的人口就会增长到5500万。一幅肉少狼多的画面，有木有太美不忍直视了都。
说了这么多，那么这些信息我们要如何与托福写作结合起来了?相信很多杀托族们都知道独立写作有一类出现频率很高的题目，那就是关于government该做什么或者做什么比较好的题目，请看能够高度总结这类题目的一道题：Is it more important for government to provide money for the things that are beautiful than things that are practical.，题目中出现的两个比较的对象是beautiful things 和practical things，这是十分抽象的两个概念，需要我们将抽象具体化。我们都知道beautiful things就是漂亮的事物，就是为了迎合人们内心的美感，说白了就是供人欣赏，那么什么人才会闲着没事去欣赏某种食物呢，肯定不是我们之前提的这些饿着肚子的尼日尔人民呀，人饿着肚子的时候头晕眼花四肢无力，哪来什么闲情逸致来欣赏beautiful things呢，于是乎，对于像尼日尔这样的额国家来说，政府更加应该做的就是做一些实事来缓解人民疾苦呀，结合上面的素材，我们来敲一下这个段子：
When we think about those poverty-stricken countries, a image of people living in a destitute and dismal life floods into our mind. There are myriads of examples available globally which can shed light on the fact that the miserable life makes people suffer deeply. Niger is, by the reckoning of the UN’s Human Development Index, the poorest place on earth, once again in the grip of a food crisis. Most of its inhabitants eke out a living growing subsistence crops on small plots of dusty and infertile land, as a result of which, the drought-ridden country cannot feed itself even in good years, precipitating the famine to cyclopean dimensions. Moreover, this perpetual food crisis is also compounded by doggedly high fertility rates owing to the local cultural issue making women endeavor to prove themselves by outdoing each other in child births. This gloomy living situation can be best portrayed by the depressingly common picture. The infants, all too often, bear the hallmarks of malnutrition. Their hair is yellowing; their bellies are distended; their expressions are glazed and they even lack the energy to shake the flies from their faces. As a result, their death is brewing. Under such circumstances, in no way should the local governmentclose its eyes to the pliant of its people insomuch as nothing can be achieved unless the government relieve the sparse food supplies. It is a sure bet that there is no better way to augment people’s living condition for those backward countries than to be bound up in practical things.