Tuesday, November 22, 2011

It could never happen here

We all say it but the sad fact is that it could very well happen here.  For us who were born after WW2 we've had a golden life.  The whole world seemed to evolve around the USA.  We could go anywhere in the world and they eagerly accepted our US dollars.  That was because during WW2 the US dollar became the world currency.  Every other nation
bought and sold in US dollars, hence they eagerly wanted as many as they could get.

Now our nation is in decline.  We are head over heals in debt and Congress seems unable to deal with it.  Any of you who faced personal debt knows paying it off can be a painful experience but yet one that brings much peace and comfort in the end.

Our Congress lacks a backbone to make those hard decisions.  They need to cut programs like arts and do away with departments that States should be covering themselves like education, Law enforcement, Security.  They need to scale back our military and make do with what we already have.  they need to privatize services such as IRS, postal system, ect.  They need to cut people off the SS roll's that have large retirement funds and pensions.  They need to trim and find ways to do the job for much less just like private companies have to do. 

So many places have had their economy collapse and they are sharing their stories.  While they might all be different they all are the same.  Signs were there but they all thought it could not happen to them.   As our "super congress"  admits defeat which will probably lower our nations credit standing once again, you had better be ready.  

While you can, stockpile the things you need.  Food, water, medications, tools, weapons.  Get garden seeds.  If you live in an apartment buy window boxes and bagged soil mix.  A salad or few veggies once a week can be a big plus in a crisis.  Do it now!   Lay in what you need.  If you think people in this country will be civil about an economic collapse  you should rethink that!  Suddenly not having everything will push many over the edge.

Below is Stasha's Story.  It just gives you a brief idea of what we might face if it happens here.

I’m 37 years old, wife and stay-at-home mom of three 8 year old girl, and two boys 22 months and 4 months, I home school and can’t imagine now not having the food storage. I come from a war torn country and food storage should been my way of life, I experienced hunger and life without electricity, gas and running water, but it wasn’t until few months ago when my sister in law started her own food storage and memories of the war came back. She sent me links to Crystal’s blog and youtube channel. Crystal inspired me and made it approachable. If I can do it anybody can, life is very busy around here, I have limited space and very limited budget, but we make it work.
I should probably tell you a little about myself before the war. Here’s the link to wikipedia about the town where I grew up, Banovici
The 29 000 population includes surrounding villages, the town itself had less people. If you compare your family and mine side by side I’m pretty sure the only major difference would be the language we spoke. I had ordinary uneventful childhood, music and dancing was something I loved (Madonna, U2, Michael Jackson, Simple minds…I even secretly liked Wham, hey I was young ) art and books, going out with my friends, watching movies (can I just say Top Gun and any girl that says she didn’t like the movie I don’t believe her lol) My parents worked and my two brothers and I went to school always counting down to the next vacation. It is important to mention this so you know I didn’t go from bad to worse. Life was good, really good, and then one day somebody pulled the plug on all good things and if as that wasn’t enough they pulled the rug underneath me too. How did this happen over night? Well, it did and it didn’t, the stores were emptied over night and money lost all value but there were signs we ignored, prices going up, lack of certain items at the stores, riots here and there, news from other parts of the country….Why we ignored it? Because we were “special”, those things didn’t happen to us, this happens in other countries, it happens to those people, my family is different, my town is different….that will never happen to us. Human beings are amazing in convincing ourselves that bad things happen to other people. We actually think that if we stand on a railroad and see a train approaching fast, we can just close our eyes and think happy thoughts and the train will go around us.
So the war was the fast approaching train and all we did is close our eyes and counted to 10. My worst nightmare became reality, the war started in May of 1992 on the last day of my high school. We became CNN and BBC sensation. Now my family became “those people”.
During the war we had no electricity, gas or running water…..I don’t mean to go down “the war path” I can go on forever but I wanted to share at least few things with you which you probably already know
-The first thing that lost value OVERNIGHT was money, stores have been emptied overnight too, all the owners and managers refused to sell food and kept it for themselves.
-We were able to buy some food from other people for gold, I remember my mom exchanging her rings and other jewelry for sacks of potatoes, flour and rice but that didn’t last for a long, people got scared and the only way we were able to get food was through exchange for other food items.
-things that gained in value other than food itself, tools, any and all tools, if you didn’t have a shovel good luck planting, also seeds, if you had storage of seeds you can get “big items” for your seeds like oil, yes oil or any kind of fat was priceless
-we were lucky to live in a small town so we had natural water spring walking distance from our house but line was long and sometimes took hours of waiting in line to get water, which brings me to the third item of great value, water jug, or any container that you can carry water in and if grenades started falling on the way home you better have a container that you can close so you don’t spill water running.
-when it comes to medicine only three things were in demand, pain killers, fever reducers, and antibiotics
Before I start with the next story, I would like to say one thing. If you talk to 100 people from Bosnia you are going to hear a 100 different stories. Everyone had a different experience. Depending on where they lived, amount of food they already had, if they had natural resources near by. Some lost everything within first few weeks of the war, their homes, their loved ones and their lives. We were fortunate to be able to stay in our home and to live in a small town surrounded with natural resources.
 I don’t think I need to do much convincing how important water is. We had a natural spring near by so we were able to get drinking water. The “only” challenge was getting there and back alive when grenades are falling from the sky. Having a good container that you can close tight and run without spilling water was very important. Having containers of any kind that you can use to store water was important in general. We needed water for washing laundry, for bathing, cooking and cleaning. Very quickly we learned to bring these things down to a bare minimum. One of the first things my parents did is move this big wood burning stove into the house. It was sitting in our backyard unused, inheritance from my grandparents, we were going to get rid of it…….oh how happy we were that we kept it. My home already had a hook up for a wood burning stove but I know that some people just simply made a hole in their wall and made it work. Wood burning stoves were in high demand. I can’t imagine having to live without electricity for a long time and not having one. Sure you can cook food in your back yard using open fire or sun oven but good luck heating up your home in the winter.
Back to water, so we used this stove to heat up water in a big stock pot and we would carry it to the bathroom add some cold water and then we used it for bathing. I used plastic pitcher to grab water from the pot, the smaller the pitcher is the better. You have to fill it up more often but when you start running out of the water it is easier to fill up small pitcher from the bottom of the pot, I guess you can have both.
Other than preparing food, washing laundry was a full time job in it self.
We changed shirts and underwear everyday but pants and towels were used few times before they were washed. Washing laundry by hands was painful. My back was killing me leaning over the bath tub all the time, and my wrists developed scabs, the skin on my palms was painful and sensitive to the touch. Underwear we boiled in a big pot on the stove with a little detergent added. This was the only way to disinfect it and yes we had a pot designated for this purpose only
Drying the laundry became a challenge too, you would think you can just use clothes line and hang it outside but the problem was since everyone in the town had some sort of fire going, and some used coal burning stoves the air was filled with sooth and if you left your laundry outside for an hour it was covered in it so we hung it above our stove inside.
Dirty dishes were kept at minimum, most meals were one pot meals, this helped us stretch the protein too. Paper plates and plastic utensils are great when electricity is out for only few days any emergency that lasts longer than a month means you have a big problem on your hands, how to dispose your trash and even though your trash becomes minimal too since you’re always thinking of different ways to reuse different packaging and there are absolutely no leftover food to be thrown away, there’s still trash.
OK, so for now I’ll live you with this image of a small town that was once beautiful and now smells like a giant beef jerky mixed with aroma of trash that is not going away.
Here is the next part of Stasha’s story…Medicine in a time of emergency.   Stasha has a great story to tell about living in Bosnia during the Bosnian war.  We can all learn a thing or too from her.  (If you haven’t yet, make sure you read her other story about Water and an overview of her story.)
If your family has special medical needs you will have to decide based on that what medicine is important for you. I can tell you this, pain medication, fever reducers and antibiotics were in demand. We had none. Going to a hospital was out of question, hospitals were full of wounded soldiers and civilians, missing limbs and badly injured.
Medical supply is one of those things you can not predict how much you are going to need and what kind you are going to need, medicine can’t be rotated the same way food can so like I mentioned before this is something you will decide based on your family needs.
I would like to give you a list of things that I like to have, these are cheap things and are available everywhere, and if you have a limited budget like me you can still stock up on them. Distilled white vinegar,baking soda,bleach, hydrogen peroxide. These are the things you can use in baking, cleaning, disinfecting……the list is endless. Build from here based on your needs and as your budget allows.
For women I must mention, not having feminine pads will add a lot of stress to already difficult situation. My mom and I used some old cut up and folded cotton shirts, we did not know how long the war will last so these had to be washed and reused, I know maybe not pleasant to hear but it was my reality. If I had a choice back then I would’ve given up shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, toothpaste……all of it just to have pads.
I saved one thing for the end because if you forget everything from this story I hope this one thing stays with you. It is very important that you go and see your dentist regularly, you DO NOT want to have to deal with tooth infection and pain that follows in any emergency situation. The only thing available to us during the war was tooth extraction and yes you guessed it, without Novocaine. I had my tooth extracted that way and I’ll just say it took a dentist and three nurses to keep me in that chair.
I hope all of you who are reading my story are able to learn something new, if not maybe by reading it you can feel somewhat better knowing that you already knew this and you feel prepared. If you have any questions please ask, maybe you can think of something that I didn’t cover. I will do my best to answer them. Thank you.

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