Andy Lagor checks out school meals in Indonesia
03/12/2013 - 17:02

Andy Lagor, the Unilever Food Solutions chef in Indonesia to see how his company’s work with the World Food Programme (WFP) is helping local school children, has arrived in Kupang.

After meeting WFP organisers to talk about the challenging conditions the local people face, he visited a local school.

He said: “I arrived in Kupang after 28 hours of travelling and the next morning I was off to visit one of the schools the World Food Programme and Unilever Food Solutions donate maize to.

“After a three hour bumpy 4x4 drive over rugged terrain, I finally arrived at my destination. I was introduced to Yolanda, the head mistress, and seven cooks and mothers who support the school meals project by cooking and preparing food for 248 pupils each day.

“It’s really tough work for them and they do it for free – but they’re incredibly organised. I was also surprised to find out that all the fresh produce for the porridge is donated by the children’s parents: the table was full of cassava, spinach, chicken and chillies.

“I couldn’t wait to get involved so picked up some chilli, garlic, tomato and cabbage before grinding the ingredients in a pestle and mortar to create the sambal, which was added to the porridge.

“The space where the porridge is cooked is very cramped and full of smoke. Boiled over an open flame on lava rocks, each element is added to the porridge bit by bit. When the porridge is ready, fortification powder – a micronutrient powder to support infants’ diets – and garlic are thrown in. It’s then served to the smaller children first.

“Being part of this lunchtime experience was very humbling. Knowing that 40% of children here have stunted growth as a result of malnutrition put the whole school meals initiative with the World Food Programme into perspective.

“After all the children had been fed, and the second half of our group had joined us after their meeting with the Bupati (the mayor), we were treated to a traditional dance, gifts and a tour of the rest of the school by the children.”