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Food For Thought for Children in Dili

It's literally a case of food for thought for hundreds of children at Comoro Intermediate School in East Timor thanks to the hard work of uniformed engineers.

Australian, US and East Timorese military engineers are building a new kitchen for the school as part of Exercise Pacific Partnership 2014.

The kitchen has been a long-awaited addition to the school which has to feed more than 1600 pupils, and getting to see the first bricks laid was a special occasion for the children.

SPR Bryan John from Brisbane-based 21 Construction Squadron, 6 Engineer Support Regiment (6ESR), said the brick laying phase of the construction is the most impressive stage, as it gives everyone an idea what the end result is going to look like.

"We are looking to go five levels up today and already we are about half way," he said.

United States Navy Construction Battalion 1 Specialist, Petty Officer John Roxas said that working with Australians and Timorese was a great experience.

"I had a chance to learn a lot from both sides and we all had a really good time working together and I personally enjoy everything that I’m doing over here," he said.

"I feel like that we have a unique opportunity to give something which is lasting and will be much used to this community."

SPR Bradley Schopp from 21 Construction Squadron, 6ESR, said the kitchen will provide a place for the kids to meet and enjoy their lunch.

"It’s really good to give back to a less fortunate nation than our own, so I am really happy to have the opportunity to help out," he said.

SPR Schopp said the children will now be able to have access to food cooked in the school kitchen free of charge.

"I think that’s going to be a huge motivator for the kids to go to school," he said.

The Comoro Intermediate School holds classes from grade 1 to 10.

As there are only three classrooms and a handful of teachers available, the classes are split up into several groups throughout the day.

This means that the kitchen will be a most important asset to the school providing three meals a day for the children.