CATHLEEN HOWARD — headed the OTHER way ... to pursue The Mexican Dream

Guanajuato, Mexico

Salaries are very low in Mexico;
obviously migrant workers are not fleeing a $10 an hour economy.

Cathleen Howard and Friends


Photos from the blog of Harvey Burgess

[I recently ventured across the border into Mexico,
for the first time in my life.
We, (me and my friends, Amanda ‘the slothful e-mail returner’ Shauger
and the oh so feisty, Cactus Cathy, both of whom have shows on
KXCI Community Radio Station, 91.3 FM, easily the best
radio station in Tucson, ), crossed by car,
only had to show documents on re-entering the States and were not searched.


I really wasn't fleeing anything especially, just looking for a less abrasive,
warmer sense of community.
And a sense of joy, which I have found here.

THE New American
Dream Interview


On Nov 17, 2008, at 3:05 PM, CATHLEEN HOWARD wrote:

Hey Mike --

This sounds great and of course I'm flattered and would be happy to contribute. I am not sure, however, if I fall into your target category. I have been living in Mexico for 7 months, teaching English -- in other words, I voted with my feet and left the country.

I feel that I am doing more good (on a very small scale) by being a representative of the sane and humane American people, rather than protesting to an uncaring government.

I hope it will change with Obama leading, but I am sold on Mexico (the people, not the government).

So.......your call


CATHLEEN HOWARD, 67, lives in Guanajuato, Mexico.

She moved last year from Tucson.


The New American Dream Trivia Question:

To win a copy of one of Palecek's books, or leftover Christmas candy, or maybe a "Deception Dollar," be the first one to correctly answer the following.

Cathy Howard would rather be ....

a. Ordering a Big Mac with Freedom Fries in Fresno
b. Shoveling knee-deep yellow snow in Yakima
c. Hablo-ing like an effing native
d. Able to make the American people understand, anything
e. Leading a poor people's march across the Rio Grande right up to Pennsylvania Avenue
f. Bailaring La Bamba on The Patriot Act.


c, e & f (sorry, being a Pisces, I couldn't make up my mind.)


NAD: Cathy, hello, thank you for taking the time for this.

When did you leave?


March 31, 2008

NAD: How?


Left on a jet plane.

NAD: Why? What finally caused you to move?


I had been feeling the tug for a long time, and this just seemed the right time — probably a little cosmic influence helped in the final push.

NAD: Why didn't you leave after the 2004 election when so many talked about doing that? [Not sure how many actually did, though.]


I really wasn't fleeing anything especially, just looking for a less abrasive, warmer sense of community.

And a sense of joy, which I have found here.

NAD: What do Americans just not get about Mexicans?

Where do you teach?

How did you get the chance to make this move?


We are all the same; I think most of us on the left side of thinking know this.

I have been teaching at a private language school called Discovery Academy and will add classes at the University of Guanajuato in February.

Salaries are very low in Mexico; obviously migrant workers are not fleeing a $10 an hour economy.

With 2 degrees and a TESOL certificate, I make the equivalent of $3.30 an hour.

NAD: Would you like to choose one of these to answer, elaborate on?

I don't ask this to make fun. I ask because I really seek the answers.

Are UFOs real?
Did we land on the moon in 1968?
Did Bush knock down the towers?
Was Paul Wellstone's death an accident?
The Oklahoma City bombing? Wasn't that just another U.S. government terrorist exercise? Or not.
Waco. We burned kids, right? You can see flames shooting out of the tanks. Or not.
Is Bigfoot real?
Is there a God?


Oh wow, this is a problem for me, because, I never fully believe anything; however, I leave my options open as I wait for further evidence.

I'll take the God one though — as many Christians, Jews, and Muslims seem to believe that there is an all powerful entity at work, very concerned about every little indiscretion but willing to have his followers kill and be killed for HIM (certainly, couldn't be HER), I do not believe in that god.

I agree with George Carlin — how ludicrous that a loving presence woulld cause so much pain and suffering.

I think the Buddhist tenet of taking responsibility for your own actions is sane, humane, and even makes sense.

NAD: What did you do before? Your bio, in five lines. Six.

Have you learned spanish by now?


I was one of those stay-at-home moms in the 60s, finally got an undergrad degree, cut loose the alcoholic husband, and went on to the only business that would allow me to support a family — yes, I was an insurance salesperson for many years.

After moving from S. Florida to Tucson, I was free of family obligations and used my time to teach at risk adolescents and to work for many "liberal" causes, most importantly the humane treatment of undocumented workers crossing the Arizona-Mexico border.

I finally decided it was time to see why they were risking their lives.

My espanol is still pretty bad; I only get by.

Interestingly enough, the Mexicans are very understanding and patient with me, and encourage me with a kindly "poco a poco" — the expats, however, have devised their own caste system, based upon "my Spanish is better than yours".

NAD: Do you have hope in Obama?


Why not?


I feel that Obama is a "good person," but so was Jimmy Carter.

There is a permanent government in the U.S., and I don't believe any President has the power to change that.

I have already seen that our international image has improved immensely, so there is one definite benefit of having elected Obama (although I did not cast my vote).

NAD: Does your favorite coffee cup have words on it? What are they?

What did you absolutely have to get done by noon today?

How about by Christmas 2009?


My coffee cup was given to me by my school's director on Teacher's Day and it says "Dia de Maestro" or something like that; I am now having coffee in the wonderful cafe under my one-room and bath habitation, so am drinking from a house cup.

It is Christmas vacation, so all I have to do every day for the next two weeks is go to the jardin and talk to friends, strangers, aliens in a perpetual show of neighborliness that never ends in this magical town.

NAD: What else would you like to add? What else should I have asked?


My experience in Mexico has taught me what I want to do for the rest of my life, i.e. communicate with women, with English as a second language being only a tool to access a sense of joy, when a woman, in any language, stands up and announces that she is proud of herself for the way she leads her life.

I think I will be eventually heading south — Oaxaca, Chiapas — but at the moment, I am following the signals that take me one step at a time — poco a poco.

So, maybe that is a partial answer to what I may be doing by next Christmas.



THE New American Dream Feature Interviews

If you search the archives below, you will find, in a sort of order [last to first], interviews with:

Sander Hicks, Brooklyn radical entrepreneur, writer, publisher

Joe Bageant, America's blue-collar author

Frida Berrigan, a lifetime of faith, hope and love

Denise Diaz, brewing up a revolution, at The Ritual Cafe in Des Moines

Deanna Taylor, Green Party activist, teacher, in Salt Lake City

Rossie Indira-Vltchek, writer, filmmaker in Jarkarta, Indonesia

Nora Barrows-Friedman, Pacifica reporter in Gaza

Delaney Bruce, Friends of Peltier

Keith McHenry, co-founder of Food Not Bombs

Michael Sprong, South Dakota Catholic Worker

Brian Terrell, Des Moines Catholic Worker

Bob Graf
, One of the Milwaukee 14

Loren Coleman, Bigfoot researcher

Monty Borror, Sci-Fi artist from Virginia

David Ray, Great American Poet

Jack Blood, radio show host, in Austin, Texas

Danny Schechter, A Real Reporter

Bob Kincaid, host, Head-On Radio Show

Tony Packes, Animal Farm Radio Host, Keeping An Eye on Big Brother

Richard Flamer, Working With the Poor in Chiapas

David Ray Griffin, 9/11 Truth activist author

Barry Crimmins, U.S. comedian, author, social activist

Bret Hayworth, political reporter for the Sioux City [IA] Journal

Lisa Casey, publisher of website All Hat No Cattle

Joe & Elaine Mayer, activist couple in Rochester, Minnesota

Fr. Darrell Rupiper, U.S. priest revolutionary

Whitney Trettien, MIT student, Green Party activist

Meria Heller, radio show host

Phil Hey, professor, poet

John Crawford, book publisher

Steve Moon, Iowa Bigfoot researcher

Carol Brouillet, California social activist, 9/11 Truth

Russell Brutsche, Santa Cruz artist

Kevin Barrett, professor, radio show host, 9/11 Truth activist

A'Jamal Rashad Byndon, social activist in Omaha

Chris Rooney, Vancouver, Canada Catholic Worker, website publisher

Marc Estrin, political novelist, from the left

Peter Dale Scott, poet, professor, author, activist

Anthony Rayson, anarchist zine publisher, works with prisoners

Alice Cherbonnier, editor of The Baltimore Chronicle, an independent newspaper

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