THE Coronavirus (COVID-19) is having the whole world on its toes. We are told that it has already raised its ugly head in Africa.
The government is taking several precautionary measures. Individuals too have started taking measures to protect or minimize the changes of catching this deadly virus.
We get an example of this from a story appearing in the Good Citizen (22 February, p. 7) titled: “Enjoying a fruits heaven in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania”.
In the story, the writer informs us that at the moment, he is living in another part of the country, having moved from where he has been resident for many years.
Why? His answer: “The ‘temporal’ move is on account of the eruption of the ‘viscious’ Coronavirus epidemic which is decimating thousands of lives in Wuhan, China and several other cities in other countries with strong international links”. The writer lives in a cosmopolitan city experiencing regular visits of people from the outside world.
We think the writer’s move to another part of the country is not “temporal”. “Temporal” refers to things that are of this world as compared to those that are spiritual The writer’s sojourn in this other part of the country is only for a short period, presumably as long as the Coronavirus remains a threat to public health. Therefore the move is “temporary”.
This reminds me of those yonder years, as a secondary school student. Many employers, then, would hire you for a short period, particularly during the school recess. That way you would get money for your upkeep at school, and, in some cases, have something to send to your parents.
This type of work was popularly known as “temporary employment”, or, in short, “a tempo”. It may be equivalent to today’s “field”, only that the hapless students of today are not paid a dime.
Yes, the Coronavirus is bad, but “viscious” is not the word to describe it; for the simple reason that, this “viscious” word does not exist. Chances are, the writer had “vicious” in mind.
“Vicious” means “deliberately cruel or violent in a way that hurts someone physically”. The Coronavirus may not have any brains to act deliberately, but it is certainly cruel.
Why did the writer introduce an “s” in “vicious” to get “viscious” is difficult to decipher, but perhaps he had “viscous” in mind. Indeed my dictionary is aware of this, since it says “viscous” is sometimes confused with “vicious’.
However, it is difficult to relate “viscous” with the Coronavirus. “Viscous” means having a thick, sticky consistency between solid and liquid.
The virus does not need a viscous medium to attack the human body.
The good news is that the place where the writer chose to go temporarily has plenty of fruits: peaches, pears, apples, plums, water melons, you name it: “Here one comes across hundreds of women carrying and hawking ‘calabash-loads’ of fruits”.
Given that a calabash (or gourd) is a natural fruit that can be turned into a container with a narrow neck for carrying liquids such as water, it is difficult to see how it can be made to carry fruits. These ladies are best-described as carrying basket-loads or pail-loads of fruits.
According to the writer, there is just too much around, so much so that: “All one had to do was to pick ‘his’ fill of fruits for ‘his’ personal consumption”.
The problem with this sentence is that, once you opt to use the pronoun “one”, the adjectives qualifying it must also take the form of “one”, if you see what I mean.
The sentence needs to be re-written into: “All that one had to do was to pick one’s fill of fruits for one’s personal consumption”.
Let us all take precautions against the vicious coronavirus!