Our First Visit to Indonesia

Tropical landscapes and broad smiles greeted the Vitamin Angels team during our inaugural trip to Indonesia in August 2016. The visit was an opportunity to witness the impact of our work in this colorful nation.

By Elysia Cook

Digging in

Indonesia is known for its stunning beaches and traditional ceremonies. Lesser known is the prevalence of malnutrition in this island nation.

We visited one of our field partners in Indonesia, SurfAid, to learn how our vitamins—and deworming tablets, which we distributed for the first time!—complement their efforts to provide families with nutrition education and more. 

Our visit provided us with a glimpse into Indonesia's beauty, and the continued need for our work there. We look forward to witnessing the impact of our ongoing efforts!

Maria, a mother we met in the Walandimu community, cares for her son Ferdianus.

Four-year-old Narfiana plays underneath her home, which is separated from the ground by large stilts. The deliberate space helps moderate the home's temperature, prevent unwanted moisture from affecting goods indoors, and reduce the risk of dry rot and termites.

According to Yana, a mother of two, clothes are traditionally given as gifts on special occasions.

We learned that the roofs, constructed out of wood, experience a lot of wear and tear and must be rebuilt annually.


Rice is a staple in Indonesian communities, but meals mainly consisting of it are strong indicators of food insecurity. Many heads of households work as farmers on rice paddies for income.

When purchased, rice comes in a large bag that weighs roughly 100kg. It's sold in-husk and must be removed manually.

The process of cleaning rice is tedious, since rogue husks must be picked out by hand. Husks are often set aside, ground with a mortar and used as feed for pigs.

Most parents don't bat an eye when their children climb trees - some as tall as 20 meters - to retrieve coconuts.

Margareta, a mother we met in the Walandimu community, soothes her 11-month-old child, Aurel.

A local holds up a plant native to Indonesia. Common plants include melati, anggrek bulan and the teak tree.

Many handwoven textiles incorporate a symbol known as 'mamoli,' which is a sign of fertility.

For adults and children alike, colorful attire is standard in Indonesia.

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