We quarantine, we mask, we worry. Right now, the Holy Grail for ending the COVID-19 pandemic — and finally returning our lives to normal — is filled with vials and vials of vaccine. Older folks and other at-risk workers are first up in the scramble to be immunized, and our new president is promising to beef up production so it can get out to all Americans over the coming months.

Photo by Matt Seymour on Unsplash

But if there is one key lesson to be learned from this past year, it is that we will only be able to crush the pandemic anywhere when it can…


The old city of Sana’a. Photo by Rod Waddington

Basic facts: Yemen is a country of some 30 million people, located at the heel of the boot of the Arabian Peninsula. It’s a country with a rich cultural and religious history. For over 2000 years, what is now Yemen was the center of a series of powerful kingdoms that controlled commerce in the luxury goods of the time —frankincense, myrrh, and spices. The first cup of coffee was brewed in Yemen, and the port of Mokha was once the center of the coffee trade. As described in both the Bible and the Quran, the famed Queen of Sheba ruled…

Mary Anne Mercer

Mary Anne Mercer writes on a range of topics related to social justice, global health, and globalization. She is completing a memoir of her year in rural Nepal.

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