Drew Barrymore is a WFP Ambassador Against Hunger and over the last several years had donated $1 million to the School Meals Programme at WFP Kenya, where Kristoffer is a Programme Officer. It has been his job over the last few years to actually spend Drew’s donation and she wanted her money to go for more than just food, but also to improve infrastructure and the school communities. So Kristoffer became an expert on various things that are not typically in WFP’s mandate, such as building schools, classrooms, latrines, kitchens, boreholes and, his pride and joy – providing energy-saving stoves.
Drew came to Kenya for her second or third time this past May, and because Kristoffer implemented and managed her projects he was tasked with showing them off to her during a three-day trip in the field. Drew also brought a team from the Conde Nast Traveler Magazine, in which she is featured this month. In addition to her cover shoot, the article inside in the magazine – which you can find here – highlights the work Drew’s money has done in Kenya. It is particularly timely, given the crisis here now, and Kristoffer is also pleased to be quoted in the article. We hope that her advocacy increases donations to WFP at this time.
Kristoffer’s overall impressions of Drew Barrymore were that she was very down-to-earth and really passionate about helping make a difference in Kenya. She was easy to talk to and asked a lot of questions about her projects. The Kenyan children in the schools she has helped have no idea how much money she has and have never seen one of her movies, but she is famous to them for even more important reasons. It sounded to me like she was very impressed with the work Kristoffer did with her money; she hugged him many times to say thank you (which did make him blush, yes. She was in ET after all!).
I think Kristoffer felt rewarded to show her his work and to introduce her to his colleagues in the field. In the village where they built a revolutionary new borehole, not only did the Samburu people honor Drew in a meaningful way (see the pictures below, where the woman painted her face and put her in traditional clothes to dance from the school to the borehole), but they also honored Kristoffer. Because he fought so hard to bring them water and didn’t give up when it looked impossible, he was given the tail of a wildebeest, which is an honor usually reserved for tribal chiefs. I can tell you, it is an honor that he will never forgot.
So even though we’ve had to keep it a secret since May (until the magazine came out), please enjoy a few of the (hundreds of) pictures from Kristoffer’s days with Drew. And, remember, if you haven’t made a donation yet but would like to help alleviate hunger in the Horn of Africa, it is not too late to visit here.