Thursday, August 13, 2020

More Reasons to Have a Tribe

Most prepper sites emphasize the TEOTWAWKI side of being or getting prepared, but we like to leaven our posts with a healthy dose of common sense and “every day” preps. Yes, it would be nice to have a fully stocked bunker in a remote location that could supply our every need for the rest of our natural lives, but that is less likely to be useful (or even attainable) for 99% of the emergencies that life will throw at us. For the mundane, boring crises that we're most likely to encounter, I've found that having a “tribe” is one of the best ways to get through them.

I've written about tribe before, but here's a quick recap for our newer readers:
  • Your Tribe is the collection of trusted friends that you can rely on.
  • Tribe falls between Team (your closest support, usually 2-5 people) and Township (a collection of tribes).
  • Tribes tend to cross family boundaries, but can include family members beyond your immediate family (your team).
  • A tribe is usually made up of a collection of teams, but not always.
Having a tribe that you can fall back on for help is vital to being a prepper. Specialist knowledge is handy in a tribe, and I'm lucky to have several specialists in my tribe, because I'm more of a generalist. They can help me with specific issues in detail, while I can help them with a wide array of issues well enough.

No one person can do everything, even though some of us try, so you're going to eventually run into a problem that is bigger than you or your team can handle. I've run into several such times over the years, mostly medical issues. Here are a few examples:
  • My friend of 40 years had to have surgery, and his wife was out of town and couldn't stay with him for the first 24 hours after he came home. I went over to his place and kept him company and comfortable while watching for any signs of complications from the surgery. Nothing ground-shaking or difficult, but he needed someone to stay with him for safety reasons. Staying awake for 24-36 hours isn't that hard for me, but I've had to do it more times in my life than I care to count.
  • Another close friend had surgery that left him incapacitated for a few weeks. His wife was able to take care of his immediate needs, but I went over and made sure the grass got cut, the fences stayed fixed (horses can be hard on fences), and did other little things around the house.
  • A sister-in-law has a foster child that has special medical needs. She works full-time, so getting him to his appointments and treatments is a challenge. My wife happily helps out as much as she can, playing taxi driver and shepherd. This counts as family but also tribe, because they live about a half-hour away from us and they don't fall under the “immediate” support of a team. How many people can you trust with your children?
  • One of my tribe members had a death in the family several states away. The funeral and various legal entanglements meant they needed to spend a week away from home, so the tribe got together and we figured out a plan to make sure their animals and home were tended to while they were gone. How many people do you have that you trust with your pets? How many are you comfortable giving your house keys?
Since I live in an area of mostly farmland, the examples of town or township pop up more often than most urban dwellers will encounter. Families tend to be more interconnected, and everybody knows (or is related to) their neighbors. Tribes get muddled when you start looking at the divorce/remarriage and “blended” families that are common today, but when you put enough of them together you get a township. Every year we'll have some old farmer pass away or wind up in the hospital before he can get his crops in, and every year the neighbors will take time out of their own harvest schedule to help the family. It's odd seeing six different teams of harvest equipment clearing a field where you usually only see one, but people set aside petty differences and work together in times of need around here. 

There are exceptions, too. We do have a few idiots who have managed to piss off every neighbor within 30 miles and have done so for several decades. Those people don't get much help when TSHTF, because they've never helped anyone other than themselves.

Nurture your tribe, while keeping in mind that they can be fluid. People move around and your tribe will change over time, so always keep an eye open for new members. Trust is the main ingredient in a tribe and that takes time to develop.

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