This post is also available in: Indonesia (Indonesian)

On that day, Rosita Rivai had an opportunity to eat lunch at Yance’s small house. Yance is a native Asmat, Papua. Along with Yance’s children, Yustina and Miranti, Rosita was eating the family’s daily menu: tapioca pudding and instant ramen noodle. The menu surprised Rosita, a volunteer doctor who was deployed to Asmat. Her main duty was to send aid to the community. She asked Yance, “Why don’t you get other menus for lunch, Mama?”

“We have nothing. Our boat was sold. We only have this as main dishes every single day,” Yance answered.

Yance told Rosita there was nothing wrong with the daily menu. Yance’s mom used to cook the tapioca pudding and instant ramen noodle for her family. Now Yance has her own family and feed them with the same menu. If they have no tapioca, they will only eat instant ramen noodle. This consumption behavior may be happened for generations. As a result, malnutrition haunts the children of Asmat. More than 60 children have been killed by the malnutrition since September 2017.

As a doctor who was deployed by Dompet Dhuafa and Indonesian Medical Association, Rosita investigated the roots of the problem. She believes that there was a shift in the community’s food consumption behavior and unjust economic system in Papua.

At the beginning, the Asmats gathered and hunted foods from their jungle. They used to eat sweet potatoes, tapioca, deers, pigs, birds, and chickens. But, industrialization and modernization have destroyed their jungle. Human Right Watch (HRW) reported that 2 million acres massive palm oil plantations are spread across Papua. No more jungle for the Asmats. It means no more foods are provided by the forests.

Since 1980’s the Asmats have started to consume only instant ramen noodle because they lost their foods from the jungle. Now the malnutrition is spreading across the land of gold.

Dompet Dhuafa committed to build a sustainable and community based food bank in Asmat, Papua. The food bank will give an opportunity for the Asmats to grow their local food with their own local genius and forestation to ensure its sustainability. In the next few years, there will no more children starve in the land of gold.

Will you share your happiness to the Asmats by supporting our food bank initiaves? Click here to support the Asmat Food Bank today!

This post is also available in: Indonesia (Indonesian)