Juliet Hutchings

Juliet Hutchings (World Peasants and Indigenous Organization - WPIO): Juliet’s passion for telling stories through film and video took her to the NGO Veronica’s Story, and then to Ethiopia where she documented how the international community is working to eradicate the AIDS virus and help orphans find safe, healthy homes. She worked on several documentaries during her undergraduate studies at Northeastern University in Boston. Juliet has also made an historical film about how children perceived the Communist regime in 1950s Central Europe, in Prague, Czech Republic. She has also made a short film about the nonprofit organization HIPS, Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive. At the time of her fellowship, Juliet was in her final year of an MFA program in film & electronic media at American University in Washington, DC. After her fellowship, Juliet wrote: “There are always benefits to these community connections: time and again, no matter who I talk with about my experiences in Africa, I hear the refrain, “It’s people like you who are helping people like me, one at a time, to understand what the world is like, and that there is a group out there (the pygmies) who are in deep danger and need assistance.”

Me? A Teacher?

09 Jul

I am riding high on a wave of exuberance and success! Freddy and I just had a fantastic shoulder-to-shoulder training session, where I helped him with writing a bulletin about their campaign to free slaves in Congo. The things I take for granted such as verbs, nouns, prepositional phrases, introductory sentences, conclusions, even the tab key; these are things that Freddy is just beginning to learn. At first, I was honestly frustrated at the prospect of helping him to mine through the grammatical bombs he had inadvertently created on his quest to tell the stories of the 10 for 1 Peace Campaign. But, now that we’ve dug in, I love seeing his progress! He is so sharp, so fast and so eager to know more, that my job is almost breezy! When he doesn’t understand what I’m saying, I quickly adapt, because I know my language can be a bit hoity-toity and inaccessible.

My mom has been a tutor for years and she almost always works with people who don’t speak English as a first language. When I still lived with her, she would go out to tutor 4 young men who were part of the group dubbed “The Lost Boys of Sudan,” and she would not return home until very late some evenings, having spent 4 to 5 hours with just one of them on a single math problem or one science question. When she would recount the events of the evening, I would just reel from how much time she spent with them on one sentence or one paragraph. But, now, I think I understand it a bit more. It is unbelievably satisfying when, as we hit the return key to make our way down into the second page, Freddy says, “Oh, dude, we have to put a comma there!”

Dude! I am so, unabashedly stoked that I actually have some skills that are useful to Freddy! Sure, yes, I am a filmmaker now, but let us not forget that I was a journalist for a spell, and that writing has always been my first love. I actually feel useful today! So refreshing.

Of course, we still have so much to do (and 7 1/2 pages of the document to go), but I can feel how much Freddy is absorbing. I know that in 6 weeks time, when I board the plane back to the States, that Freddy and Pascal will use me and AP as less of a crutch and more of a partner than ever before.

I have shared my basic video and writing skills with them, and continue to do so, daily. I had never really considered becoming a teacher in my life. But, now, more than ever, I think I finally get why so many people do this for a living.

To learn more about one of the boys my mom has tutored, check out this great story.

Posted By Juliet Hutchings

Posted Jul 9th, 2008


  • Gail Green

    July 10, 2008


    Sounds like things are moving along nicely! Such a feeling of accomplishment for Freddy and for you. That’s teaching at its best, when both teacher and student put their best effort into it – and then both learn, and both are in some ways teachers. Congratulations to you both!

  • Herbert Parsons

    July 10, 2008


    Hey Juliet,
    It’s an enormous smiling pleasure for this teacher/coach to read your blog. Oh yeah!
    Best, Herb

  • Alanna

    July 10, 2008


    I love commas! I think Freddy and I would make good friends. 🙂

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