Overseas Retreat Owner Profile: Mr. and Mrs. Zephyr in Trinidad and Tobago

A rental three bedroom roomy apartment in suburbs. One hour from capital city of 30,000 on a relatively large Caribbean island, with nearer smaller towns. Ten minute drive to large mall, and ‘Big Box’ mart.

Ages: 44 and 28

SOs: Two children, 12 year old and 2 year old.

ANNUAL INCOME:varies from $9,000 to $13,000.

PROFESSION: Photographer/Entrepreneur and Seamstress/Homemaker

INVESTMENTS: Various modest financial tools including stocks, CDs, savings, mutual funds, annuity, and Silver Eagles.

VEHICLES: Nissan station wagon (2000), 18-speed mountain bike

FIREARMS BATTERY: No firearms, due to excessively restrictive, outdated, draconian, colonial laws. Also, most government policy makers are hoplophobes. Unless one is wealthy, then the chances of affording the necessary bribe to senior officials for a firearms license is slim to remote.

MAIN BATTERY: No firearms. 2 air guns: RWS magnum .177 smoothbore air rifle. (1,000 fps). Webley Tempest .177 smoothbore air pistol. (450 fps).

STORED AMMO: 2,700 pellets, plus 1,000-2000 always on hand for weekly practice with elder son, wife and fellow shooters.







2 FRS radios, with charger, 2x NiMH batteries, capable of AAA x 4 alkaline. Cell phones. AM/FM radio. 8 AAA, 8 AA rechargeable batteries.

WATER STORAGE: 6 days for family of 4 (84 litres) inside home. Bleach and buckets with lids. Two 400 gallon tanks in yard, but this must be shared with two other families. Building has roof guttering that can be easily harvested during an emergency. Nearby rivers and streams can provide even more.

FOOD STORAGE: 6 weeks+ for a family of four. Wife thinks we comfortably have more than 2 months food and that I’m being overly conservative in my estimate. These include over 90 cans, honey, salt, sugar, Ramen, flour, pasta, powdered milk, baking powder, yeast, beans, rice, cooking oil etc. We have also included comfort foods such as cookies, peanut butter, potato chips, wholesome cereals (muesli, oats, granola, etc.). There are other foods that I have not included, but all the foods that we have stored are foods we eat regularly (thanks to SurvivalBlog).

Poultry, fish, TP, disposable diapers are bought in bulk. Some of the poultry and fish are stored in the next door neighbor’s freezer. They are a retired couple with no kids.

A few thousand open pollinated seeds: corn, eggplant, pigeon peas, sorrel, pumpkin.

MEDICAL: This is one of our weakest areas, but we’ve still managed to accumulate a few items. Oral rehydration salts, bandages, gauze, medical tape, syringes, surgical gloves, baby wipes, painkillers, anti-pyretics, anti-fungals, anti-inflammatories, anti-diarrheals, antihistamines, isopropyl alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, sulfa tablets, Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflamatory Drugs (NSAIDs), baby fever medication and a few more.

OTHER PREPS: A family Bug Out Bag with items that will sustain us for three days or more. Our preps are bucketed, boxed, bagged or in otherwise mobile-ready condition for quick transport if necessary. A detailed family emergency plan is on the fridge door, with a copy in the BOB.

Even though beginners, we’ve also included toilet paper (2 months), feminine napkins (3 months), maps, matches, lighters, tools, batteries, changes of clothing, toothpaste, toothbrushes, soaps, pens, notepads, games that require no batteries (chess, checkers, dominoes etc), lots of batteries, chargers, cash, WD-40, oils, reading glasses, knives, children’s books, cleavers, candles, Thermos flask, utility gloves, dust masks and a few other items.

All important documents have been copied (2 copies each) with a copy kept in the BOB. Soft copies are also kept on a flash drive, as well as on CDs. Our preps, even though modest and woefully lacking, have taken us almost three years to stockpile–the same time I have been a SurvivalBlog reader.

HOBBIES: Shooting, gardening, reading, out-door activities with the kids, hunting, photography, sewing.

Both of us were born and raised Christians in the Caribbean. Don’t wear our religion on our sleeves. Live in an area that is fairly ‘family-friendly’ with many parks, schools, playgrounds and other green spaces in every direction. Our children are happy and healthy.

We are currently looking for land to buy within 20-40 miles of our present location. Building our dream home/retreat will be the next big project of our lives.

Our country is experiencing an economic boom with 13 continuous years of growth, due to abundant hydrocarbons. Headline inflation is over 13% and growing. Food inflation is 25-40%.

Thrift and proper planning allows us to prep, while others who earn much more than we do can’t seem to make their monthly pay cheques last more than three weeks. We eat out only once (or in a good month—twice) per month, while adding two or three cans to our stockpile per grocery visit. We scour the sales, visit thrift stores, and attend garage sales.

We are trying to prepare for the upcoming inevitable changes and seek to be self-reliant. The country has had a military uprising in 1970, and an attempted coup in 1990 that left many dead; several buildings in the capital city burnt to the ground and widespread looting, curfews, criminal activity, even by law enforcement and military personnel. Due to predatory, arcane, colonial laws against individual rights to own and bear arms we own no firearms yet.

He was an active member of a local rifle club for years, learning and shooting pistols (.22, .38 and 9mm) on the 25m range twice a week.
Wife and son, 12, now learning to shoot the pistol. They like it. The air rifle heavy for them. If she applies for her own, then we’d buy a smaller air rifle that is comfortable for both wife and son.

Why did you choose your location?
Area close to an airport, golf course, mall, hills, rivers, many farms, schools, rapid public transportation system. Good roads, farmers market, many green spaces, several middle class communities, great for small, medium businesses. Good hunting on state lands close by. Three industrial estates. National disaster planning authority’s head office is in the area. They don’t provide any tangible pre-disaster help though; just information leaflets. Their methods are reactive, bureaucratic and slow. They don’t partner meaningfully with the public.

What are the drawbacks to the region?
Violent crime can be a serious factor, as throughout most of the island. Close-by hills prone to forest fires during dry season. Nearest fire station has only one tender and is approximately 10 minutes away. Recently, minor flooding has been an issue.

Who will be joining you at your retreat if the balloon goes up?
No one. We’ll have to be self sufficient. But next door neighbors, a retired couple will be mutually useful. He has a ton load of tools, practical skills & know how. She an avid kitchen gardener, wine maker, cook.
We also have a written plan-–should home get too sticky–with evacuation to relatives with 3 good rural retreats, in 3 different directions. Due to our modest preps, we won’t be a burden to them initially. But should the situation persist into months, then we’d have to get creative.

How long do you expect that it will be before order is restored?
Three to six weeks. Or longer.

What is your worst case scenario?
Category five hurricane followed by flood, then crime surge, which may include bold, violent, daytime home invasions by gangs. Aviation accident, with clogged highways and main roads. No electricity, water. Groceries, pharmacies closed, and thence looting. Police confiscating legit gun owners’ weapons (which is their counterintuitive policy during certain types of emergencies), while leaving criminals armed. Foreign forces arrive to ‘help’ (steal, rape, kill, plunder).

What personal circumstances have shaped your preparations, and how?
Observing the events of attempted coup in my country. Also, seeing and reading of the horrors experienced by those unprepared folks in Louisiana during Katrina, and the government’s (non)action that made a bad situation hellish.

I never want my family to stand in line for food, water, shelter, medical care or rescue. Nor to be at the mercy of others, like waiting for NGOs, government agencies to help us.

One can observe other events around the globe that create refugees in their own communities. Such as Myanmar cyclone that killed over 60,000 and it’s aftermath. Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica are perennially ravaged by hurricanes. [As of this writing in late 2008.]

What shortcomings does your retreat have that you would like to improve if you had the opportunity?
Houses are too close. Not enough land between. Difficult to defend against three or more armed, determined intruders.

What are your long term goals?
Live a wholesome, productive Christian life that best prepares us to cope with any problems that will arise. Allow our children to learn through observing us consistently making the right choices, supported by the right actions in every situation encountered. Learn and practice regularly, new useful survival skills. Ensure our children survive and thrive in this unpredictable world.
Buy land and house on one of the picturesque mountains in the area.
Get several battle rifles, pistols, shotguns and several thousand rounds of ammo. Train with them regularly.
Enough land (5 acres +) to grow food, raise livestock (chickens, ducks, goats, dogs, cats, rabbits, fish), build shooting range and build dream home with additional buildings for a small shared community of like minded moral, ethical families and individuals.

Most of our friends are woefully unprepared (we were there only three years ago) and discreet enquiries confirm this. We hope through gentle reason, logic and moral suasion to help some take their first steps in family preparedness. No one was present to help us when we began almost three years ago, and most of what we learned came from SurvivalBlog. For this, we are eternally grateful to you and your contributors.

JWR Recommendations:
As your budget allows, buy a small solar charger for your AA and AAA NiMH batteries. In the short term–while you are waiting for the slow-moving wheels of bureaucracy to turn,–you should acquire high-power, large bore air rifles (such as the Quackenbush .308) for each teen and adult family member.Also buy a couple of real (not flimsy “decorator”) sharpened swords (such as Cold Steel Warrior series Katanas or Wakazashis), and couple of 26.5mm flare pistols for “boating emergencies”, with a large assortment of flares. Get plenty of parachute flares for illumination and either “meteor” or “cluster” type flares for dissuading any would-be “Pirates of the Caribbean.”

When you build you new home, pick out a parcel of land with advantageous (defendable) terrain, and plan for security measures throughout the design process. Ditto for energy and water self-sufficiency. Some key design points to consider: Masonry construction, minimally-sized extra-thick plexiglas windows (with bars), all entries accessed via very stout steel doors (with two extra hinges, set in steel frames that are securely bolted deep into the masonry with numerous large diameter bolts). All these features could easily be explained as “hurricane-proof” architecture.