Unexploded Ordnance in the Marshall Islands

Making my way through the Marshall Islands International Airport’s open-air structure, I can see other passengers, mostly nationals, visible outside the customs entry, lined up on the tarmac for an unexpected security measure. Health care workers garbed in personal protective equipment are screening each traveler before allowing entry. Caught off guard, this is the first COVID-19 scrutiny most of us have encountered. After a quick temperature check, they make sure nobody has connected from China. No coughs, no sore throats, no fever, no malaise. No big deal.

From behind a glass window the customs agent asks about my business in the islands.

“Fishing,” I say.

“Fishing? We have the best fishing here in the Marshalls! You’ll love it. Welcome to Majuro.” He beams with pride. After reviewing my vaccination record, he stamps my passport with the admission date: Feb. 25, 2020…

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