Pondering the jackfruit

I received an email earlier this month accusing me of vast and glaring inaccuracies in my “article” about jackfruit:

I just read your article on the jackfruit.I must say that as someone who is very familiar with the fruit, I must disagree with almost all of what is written for public information. I am of the opinion that you never saw a tree, or even a fruit…. It would be nice if your article on this wonderful fruit be redone by someone who has thorough knowledge of the fruit.

It’s not a lack of knowledge, trusty readers. It’s an utter hatred. Jackfruit, in all its sticky, slimy, rotten-tasting foulness, made such an impression on me the first time I tasted it that I have dedicated this blog to its censure. Which is why I was horrified to read this, from an article forwarded to me by no fewer than five “friends”:

Last summer, on her first day in Bangalore, India, Annemarie Ryu ’13 fell in love. The object of her rapt attention was green, spiky, and the size of a beach ball.

What Ryu fell for was jackfruit. Her first taste of the vitamin-rich food was from a sidewalk vendor: a handful of slippery yellow slices, served up on a sheet of newspaper.

“I had the first piece, and I thought it was something out of wonderland,” said Ryu. “I thought: My word, amazing. I had this magical feeling.”


jackfruit of the week (05.27.09): opportunities for Ugandan journalists

Jackfruit comes to Kansas: I found this abomination in my parents’ grocery store this week. I am horrified.

Just a quick note to let you know about two upcoming opportunities for Ugandan journalists:

Inter-ethnic & Conflict Workshop
Deadline: June 1, 2009
Mid-career practitioners from Commonwealth Broadcasting Association (CBA) member organizations from Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi and Mozambique are invited to apply to attend a development journalism workshop titled “Interethnic and Conflict Reporting,” to take place in Nairobi, Kenya from June 22-26, 2009.

Read more and download an application at the CBA web site.

Radio Fellowships
Deadline: August 18, 2009
Young journalists interested in covering children’s issues can apply for the Oscar van Leer Fellowship, which will offer professional training in journalism and children’s issues.

For more information, visit the Bernard van Leer Foundation web site or
contact Vera van der Grift at ovlf-info [at] bvleerf [dot] nl.

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.

jackfruit of the week (02.05.09) – TED

Bungee jumping Jinja jackfruit, courtesy of Mr. King

TED is one of my favorite things in the world: a blend of technology, entertainment and design (hence the acronym) plus a hefty dose of international affairs, science and the arts. Case in point: a talk on African fractals by ethno-mathematician Ron Eglash. I could get lost for hours (and have) in the twenty-minute video presentations on everything from the mystery behind Lost to the art of letter writing.

How fortunate, then, that TED 2009 is this week. Over 50 speakers — artists, scientists, musicians, entrepreneurs and one aerialist — are congregating in California, sharing their ideas and basking in their combined brilliance. You can follow along with live broadcasts or check out the TED Fellows blog.

jackfruit of the week (01.21.09)

Jackfruit on Long Bien Bridge from Hanoi Mark on Flickr

I’m back in New York after a whirlwind trip to Kampala, where I communed with the blogren (more later) and waxed nostalgic. I got in last night and hit the ground running today with a lecture on Pareto efficiency, delivered by the son of a French-Argentine football player. I love New York.

The new semester is starting for lots of people, including my friend and former blogret* Josh Goldstein, who together with Patrick Meier is teaching a class on Digital Democracy at Tufts University. You can follow along with the course, which covers a blend of digital activism, political theory and media studies, on the Digital Democracy wiki or the @digidemocracy Twitter feed.

In other news, Barack Obama:

Courtesy of Ryan Schuette, whose affinity for Ugandan Mexican food and willingness to meet me anywhere in the city to drink out of cups made K’la City as much like home this time it was the last.

*blogren, singular, male.