I am just a scribe of time. 

Recording a series of moments, 

On the sands of time, 

Unto the pillars of history, 

Unto every ragged patch of earth or bark of tree, 

Unto the skins of animals, 

Unto the papers of today to be read to the petals of tomorrow. 

I am just an ink in time, 

Though I crunch on my keyboard at this given moment, 

I will be meaningless to time except for the ink I brush her with.

The sun-kissed the early morning dew goodbye as it stretched its beautiful rays to embrace the city of diversity. The freshly sprout leaves from the numerous neem and dawadawa trees, bathed by the soothing rays of the giant star, made them dance elegantly to the early morning breeze in style. A new day had been born, the superheroes were up once again trying to save the day. Women who cater for the entire day’s meal of their families with less than ten Ghana Cedis, and still find space to throw in an extra Kpakpilo to make sure you never miss the koko effect. The invincible heroes marvel studios forgot to write about, the messiahs of our time and age.

Thursdays were business as usual. The market place was the battlefield where our superheroes exhibited their superpowers and chivalry in anything that entailed buying and selling. Mma Safura was busily arranging her items and Davi had a fan in her hand driving flies away from her smoked fish. The school kids were walking briskly in all directions. Beggars on the streets were putting their overnight rehearsed jingles to test. The yellow-yellow driver had just cut another into the pedestrian lane to pick a passenger and the pleasantries followed. Yeah! Your guess is as good as mine. It was thirty seconds of “all hell broke loose as they reminded each other of their family ancestry”. In short, it was a day like any other in the Tamale market. But all of this was about to change in a millisecond. 

In a city, 11,904 kilometres away, a 55-year-old patient had been rushed into the emergency ward of the Hubei Provincial Hospital, Hubei Province. The health professionals came around to have a closer look at the patient. What they found, the foundations it shook, the ties it severed, the businesses it collapsed and the hearts it broke led us to the global figure of 249,112 and still counting. This is not the value of a discounted stock on the world stock exchange and neither is this the Cedi equivalent of a commodity in the global market. The figure represented the fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, uncles and aunties, loved ones, the rich and the poor who had fallen to this pandemic. Where did the world go wrong? Let us revisit patient zero in the emergency ward. It is Sunday, November 17th, 2019. A patient has just been rushed into the emergency ward with clear symptoms of a rare pneumonia. The doctors have taken time off to discuss the condition of the patient.

Has he got any allergies? Underlying conditions? Asthmatic? One of the doctors asks for these details from a relative.

There appears to be something triggering an imbalance in the patient’s immune response system, a colleague Doctor explained. 

The inflammation in the lungs as evidenced on the Chest X-ray shows signs of Pneumonia, another muttered. 

Yes, judging from the acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), I am sure this is at its most critical stages. The lungs appear not to be receiving enough oxygen at the moment as evidenced in the contraction of the diaphragm. Could that be attributed to a diaphragm paralysis? But I am not quite sure of the dry cough and fever. Could there be something we are missing in the health history of the patient? 

These and many more queer deductions, the health professionals advanced while looking at the helpless patient as he tossed from left to right on his bed. Sedate him and get the ventilator such that we can commence the intubation process. Let us manage this for the time being while we await the results from the laboratory. 

Little did they know that this was the beginning of the end of free movement without nose masks. The nose and mouth had been rendered additional private parts which had to be covered at all time till further notice. Touching the face became sinful. Unity from that point forward, for the first time, meant total annihilation and social distancing meant the survival of the human race. The global diction for the first time reiterated without number, the much-dreaded code name; Coronavirus! Nothing will ever be the same after that fateful incident. Four months on this slippery road and what sprouted in China had now been imported into Ghana. This moment in time will dot as a flash on the cosmic calendar, yet important enough to the survival of our species. How much do we really know about this earth, the pandemic, history and global happenings? Let us take a trip through time. 

Life is nothing but a series of moments. A trip through the intuitive mind of the astrophysicist sure helps offer perspective. Astrophysicists have deduced the age of the Universe dated from the Big Bang to be 13.7 Billion years. Imagine having this entire time period compressed into a year. Using this time spectrum, each month will equal a little over a billion years. A closer look at events from this spectrum helps us to understand that the greatest milestones of recorded history and the moments in the evolution of human history are nothing but a blip in time. Slated in these terms, very little is known about the very first years of man’s existence, then advanced man learned to cover himself with skins of animals, man then emerged from his cave to construct other kinds of shelter. This is followed by man learning to develop carts with wheels, the development of Islam and Christianity, the development of the steam engine, the great depression, the green revolution, the space age with the landing of the first man on the moon, the invention of computers and smartphones, the generation of millennials, hashtags, tweets and twerks all might have existed for a little less than thirty minutes. On the Cosmic calendar, if the entire Universe has existed for a 24 hour period, then human evolution came into the picture somewhere around 11:48 PM. Taking a step back and looking at the world from this perspective, you realize that you know nothing “John Snow”. Hence the need for scribes of the second to pen down every moment which might be happening within every microcosm of our existence.

It is a microsecond of present day, in the height of sophistication and advancement in anything and everything, we survived the bubonic plague which wiped out about 30 to 50 million people, a half of the World’s population in the 6th century. Then came smallpox which had the world grieving once more. Cholera followed suit, but this time, thanks to John Snow, this was a victory for public research. Far from what you might be relating to in Game of Thrones, the prevailing scientific theory suggested that Cholera was attributed to a foul air known as “Miasma”. A British doctor named John Snow suspected that the mysterious disease resided in London’s drinking water. The solution, therefore, was not dragon glass, John Snow convinced the public officials to remove the pump handle on a broad street drinking well, rendering it unusable, and like magic, the infections dried up.

The world today filled with so many John Snows has helped us to understand that the virus does not move. So if we stop moving, we stop the virus from moving. But worse than the virus was the fear it generated in society. The virus, like a game of Ludo, came with so many ups and downs. In the game of Ludo, being the first to strike six with the dice does not automatically mean you complete the game first. But it, however, gives you an added advantage. In that same light, Wuhan struck the first six and hence it made them better prepared than all other nations. In the game of Ludo, your dice move like they are on a street. Interacting with other dices, and kicking those dices home or getting kicked home. In that same manner, the virus got some locked down in their homes and had some quarantined till conditions improved.  You can also choose to block other dices from moving forward and hence delaying or completely dispelling the chances of your opponents being victorious. In that same way, closing down cities served as a very powerful tool that helped prevent the virus from spreading farther. In many forms, life in these times mimicked the game of Ludo. However, in the game of Ludo, everyone eventually completes the game. Some just complete it earlier than others. With such hopes in mind, there is an assurance that the world will conquer this ghost. Now, back to the concept of fear. FEAR can be a very good motivator or a silent killer. Depending on how one interprets fear in these trying times, it could read as “Forget Everything And Run” or “Fight Everything And Rise”.

“Forget Everything And Run” and rightly so, thanks to the panic shoppers, toilet rolls sold out in most advanced economies. Ghana saw a hike in prices of gari, nose masks and hand sanitizers. Some sold body lotion to desperate customers as hand sanitizers. People used this already murky situation as an excuse to increase prices in response to demand. People repackaged second-hand nose masks to resell. Brutality of the citizenry by law enforcers peaked epic proportions. As a result, instead of battling one global pandemic, the world bled with two. One was Coronavirus and the other was the greed and self-serving interest of men.

The sleepy giants had however been awoken in many, they therefore Fought Everything And Rose. People who were quick to pivot from brick and mortar businesses to e-commerce increased their sales and reach. Online meeting platforms like Zoom had a hike in usage. The innovative youths of countries started putting their ideas to good use. Ghana in these trying times saw the need to develop its own sectors to produce most of the equipment they will be needing to help save lives. Funding for the development of alcohol-based hand sanitizers, digital solutions to the pandemic and so much more were floating for the hungry entrepreneurs to grab. But in all of these, the greatest lessons were yet to be learnt.

It will interest each and everyone to know that people respond to situations in different ways including any pandemic. Four of these responses are of are golden when mixed in the right doses. Neuro-Linguistic Programming helps summarizes these responses into the Competitive, Cooperative, Polarity, and Meta response. The competitive response process the relevant thoughts, experience and feelings in terms of competition and comparison. The cooperative response is peculiar with those who have an attitude of helping those around them to share the experiences at hand. The polarity response is by people who base their choice or response on opposing those that are presented to them … flipping to the opposite end of the relevant behavioural spectrum. The meta response, however, evaluate situations at a higher logical level as a result of having thought about the situation at hand, and not just responding to it. It was therefore imperative for the world to adopt a meta response. The world acted but a fraction of a moment too late. The industrial complexes had adopted the competitive response, communities have adopted a cooperative response, the politicians had adopted a polarity response and the scientists were left with the meta-response. So before the world could synchronize these thoughts into one to form a formidable force against this pandemic, it had already broken the 3 million confirmed cases mark.

A twinkle lasts a moment, but it has your gaze transfixed at that particular spot hoping to catch another glimpse at that infectious smile of that star. Hence this pandemic gave a new outlook to the world view of Africa. Just like heroes rise from the ashes, Africa was chalking highs in the fight against this global pandemic. These series of moments, the sons and daughters of the savannah should be told about. Harmattan came with a new visitor, the likes of us but with something alien to us. Ravaging bodies of men and leaving none it came into contact with. Bringing great nations to their knees and generating a series of conspiracy theories. Call it the ghost of Wuhan, the deadly Coronavirus, which brought about chaos and mayhem in global settings. For a solution, we had to look out to another John Snow. 

You might grow up to a world wherein you will be told that a goat and pawpaw tested positive to Coronavirus in Dar es Salam, Tanzania. Just as heroes have not been made of our mothers in this spec of time, we want you to build upon these milestones we chalked in our fight to combat this unwelcome visitor. Be informed that your fathers and mothers in Ghana successfully sequenced genomes of SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the global COVID-19 pandemic, obtaining important information about the genetic composition of viral strains in 15 of the confirmed cases. Let it be known that Madagascar was one of the very first to speak of a cure in the form of a tonic to this global pandemic. Africa for the first time refused to be used as a lab rat to test a vaccine of the coronavirus. Governments fed citizenry for days in the wake of the lockdown of major cities. Stimulus packages were given to cushion businesses against shocks. Utility bills were waived by governments for some number months. Health workers who were risking their lives as front liners in this fight had a raise in salaries. We were all scared, but we stood our ground. This is how I will end the narrative of how this unwelcome visitor ravaged the earth and brought many great nations to their knees.

To you, the cherished reader, wondering as to how it all ends. Need I say more? The prophets have abandoned us. Those of them who could predict the end of the world in 2012 are now silent for the first time. So if you are looking up to me to provide a solution, I am sorry. But why should I be? I am just a scribe of time. Recording series of moments, on the sands of time, unto the pillars of history, unto every ragged patch of earth or bark of a tree, unto the skins of animals, unto the papers of today to be read to the petals of tomorrow. I am just an ink in time, though I crunch on my keyboard at this given moment, I will be meaningless to time except for the ink I brush her with.

iMG sRC:


Written by Abdulai Alhassan

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