A veteran science journalist who has covered everything from West Africa’s Ebola outbreak, Crispr gene editing, malaria prevention and the Cambrian explosion, Amy Maxmen had never encountered anything like konzo.

For thousands in Kehemba and tens of thousands across Africa afflicted by the neurotoxic disease konzo, the solution is to give people food, seeds and fertile land so they don’t have to rely on bitter cassava, a staple crop that’s rich in the poison cyanide.   But conflict…

Part III: The Warning Clock DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO — In a town known locally as “the place of suffering,” the eyes of a young man, Etienne Tshiluanji, beckon. They look defiant amid a sea of stares from a dozen people congregated outside of a community center, who…

Part II: A Real Love Story DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO—One afternoon in 1998, a healthy 18-year old named Gaby Ngabu Kasongo was hiking home from the farm, when boom: His legs froze. “It’s as if my muscles suddenly turned into blocks,” he…