jackfruit of the week (02.23.09): superheroes!


Louisiana jackfruit, from the Hong Kong Food Market in Gretna, LA. Courtesy of Sonia Smith.

I’m taking a little break from the media-tech-Africa jumble that’s normally Jackfruit of the Week to point you all to a hilarious/amazing/inspiring project one of my housemates is working on.

This is Chaim:

Chaim’s a filmmaker:

Chaim’s also a superhero:

Together, he’s a superhero filmmaker. Or a filmmaking superhero (you can decide):

(Here’s the part where I went, “No, really?” and Chaim went, “Yes, really.” I’ll give you a minute.)

Chaim isn’t a Halloween superhero or a comic book superhero or a big fancy convention superhero. He’s a real life superhero who spends hours and hours feeding hungry New Yorkers, cleaning up trash and building homes. He’s part of a whole group of real superheroes that the New York Times profiled in 2007, including an ex-sex worker who uses martial arts to protect her former co-workers and a man who fixes leaky faucets for free. All of them — and there are hundreds throughout the world — are visible icons of community service and activism, and Chaim’s documenting their story at Superheroes Anonymous:

Here’s the part where I cheat a little and bring it back to Africa. Each month, Superheroes Anonymous chooses a cause to support. February’s is Starvation Salvation, an effort to raise money for PASSOP, a South African non-profit that, among other things, smuggles food into Zimbabwe to feed people who need it. If you don’t feel like breaking out your cape and spending a day helping your own community, think about helping PASSOP out.