Society needs healthcare professionals. During a time of crisis, this becomes blatantly obvious as people die from what would have otherwise been preventable. Healthcare workers have the capability to prevent a lot of suffering. My intention today is to demonstrate just how important one of these healthcare professionals – the dentist – are ever since the (induced) crisis hit us.
Here in Venezuela, we both do and do not seem to understand this. The people understand this. The politicians do not. Those in the health sector exhibit their broken shoes, torn robes, washed up thousands of times, and more on a daily basis.
How did we fall so far?
First, the health sector salaries were paid with oil industry revenues. And every Venezuelan knows that most of the supplies provided to the hospitals were (ahem) “redirected” to private clinics, where the very same doctors working in the public health sector casually had a financial interest. Of course, this is nothing new. It has been happening for three or four decades now.
This corruption was one of the major factors in the decline of health in what was once one of the most wealthy countries in South America. We were the jewel of South America at one time. And then, the Castro bros put their paws on us.
Generally speaking, the economy in this God-blessed, sunny country took a nosedive in 2016 and never recovered, thanks to the commies. All sorts of highly-trained, experienced, and educated professionals got the heck out of dodge after that happened. There were just not too many other options. You starved, or you left.
Although Kiddo and I had the option to stay put, hunker down, and hold on, my (now) ex was extremely concerned about her family’s future. That is understandable. It morphed into one of the main wedges between us. Obviously, we had different approaches in life, and we split once she arrived in Lima.
Despite this economic suicide, however, there were plenty of health professionals who decided to stay in Venezuela and endure the adversities. Specialists like obstetricians, oncologists, and trauma doctors found reason to stay. And one of the most profitable healthcare fields, which was not so hard-hit by the communist occupation, was dentistry.
Why did this happen? Why did the dentists stay?
First, dentistry is a VERY in-demand healthcare service. It doesn’t matter where you go; everyone needs regular dental attention – including uniforms and cartel members.
Second, dentist work has special advantages unique to it. The necessary gear is usually light, and overseas freight and shipping of these tools (for when more are required) is not very expensive. Starting dentists in Venezuela need only a location to work (usually rented, as everywhere else down here), and patients will just show up. In dentistry, if you build it, they will come.
In the worst of the migration crisis, this job was one of the few that didn’t suffer even a fraction of the unemployment rates the induced crisis generated in other areas. Mind you, this comes from someone who was a young engineer in a GM assembly plant in 2001 and could see how everything worked back then.
(This, of course, is why you need to get your food storage in order now. Read our free QUICKSTART Guide for advice on what to do here.)
The third reason I believe dentistry is largely immune to economic hardships is, it’s a profession that provides you with some degree of comfort. Money is a buffer, and dentistry can provide plenty of it. You just need an office with good air conditioning. Usually, there is a dental hygiene assistant. And down here, those are your costs.
Fourth, a special attraction for those who decided to choose this career was that the best public universities in the country offered courses in it – absolutely tuition-free. Though, as this tuition is paid by oil industry income, it’s very likely the Castro bros gang will promote the privatization of dentist facilities in the near future.
The beginnings of a Venezuelan dentist
In 2018, I witnessed a young man tell his father that he was going to flee the country, dropping college and all. The son was just two years short of ending his odontology career, and, somehow, his father convinced him to keep going for his degree and that things would soon change for the better.
In Venezuela, the last year and a half of this dentistry education is mostly assistant work. So, the son kept assisting, overcoming the issues of going to class with just two pairs of battered, old shoes and with just a bun and clear coffee as breakfast.
Those who have faced long-term hunger and privation will understand what two years of this is like.
Adding to the family’s hardships was their size. They are a very large family, and money was extremely short during these last two years. The father’s salary was not nearly enough to keep everybody fed, and an entire assortment of activities was in place to make ends meet: selling homemade shampoo, dishwashing soap, conditioner, and fabric softener (and making them) were constants in the family’s life.
The son was able to make a little extra cash performing some dental work at his family’s house (while still a student). When the son wasn’t studying or doing dentist odd jobs, he would occasionally work a guard job (In a land ruled by cartels. Picture this.) that would allow him to pay for food and his bus tokens to ride to his college courses and back. This caused his sleep time to be reduced, but by doing this and being incredibly frugal, his family was able to last those two years.
But not everything through these two years was bad.
A number of things worked out perfectly for this family. Even before getting his diploma, the son landed a job in a private clinic – six months before he graduated. That’s amazing.
Sure, he wasn’t going to perform maxillary surgery or anything remotely similar – he mostly was assigned to regular cleanings – but he now had a regular (and regularly paid) job that gave him the ability to carry his own weight until he could get on that auditorium dressed in a black robe to receive his diploma. This boy is young, but his achievements can even inspire the old. How many of us have made similar achievements at such a young age?
Now, that son is not only working in the city he grew up in (a big deal), but he even has plans to get a car (another big deal) and his own apartment – separate from his family’s – in the near future. Living in one’s hometown, driving a car, having one’s own place – this young dentist is living the Venezuelan dream.
Dentistry is not the only occupation in which one can excel after an economic collapse, however.
We’ve seen other healthcare professions down here see similar levels of immunity. Nursing, elder care – all of these are still good opportunities even with the current conditions.
Even many wealthy people here cannot afford to keep their elders abroad. And many elders refuse to leave their families even if they know they’ll receive better care somewhere else. They don’t want to leave the country to pass away far from their home and friends. Who wants to go die in a foreign country anyway?
On the other hand, another peculiar situation has added to the already scarce health workers. Those refusing to get the famous jab (very reasonably, as to each one their own) are just simply out of the market. Like many of us.
Information about this trend could point someone in the right direction.
The shortage of healthcare workers in the U.S. seems to be a good opportunity for people looking for a means of earning money that will always be in demand, even in the middle of a prolonged collapse.
This has been a long-time trend. I remember in a blog a youngster asking for a good career that could be useful for a prepper, and though there were a few obvious responses like LEO, military, etc., there was a general consensus that healthcare was the best choice.
And this is quite interesting. The most reputed dentists I know, both in my hometown and my “adopted” city, never thought of leaving. They never saw themselves in deep need. Because of this, the choice of staying put until things were better was not so difficult. They even were able to collect some savings in cash as a financial parachute, which no one has nowadays!
I hope this can help some youngsters out there to make smart choices.
The young man in my story really had it hard. I am proud of him for enduring this hardship – all to take care of himself, his family, to create a better future, and to help take care of the suffering Venezuelans – his countrymen – all around him.
I hope you’ve enjoyed your reading and find this information useful and timely.
Thanks for your sponsoring and support!
Jose is an upper middle class professional. He is a former worker of the oil state company with a Bachelor’s degree from one of the best national Universities. He has an old but in good shape SUV, a good 150 square meters house in a nice neighborhood, in a small but (formerly) prosperous city with two middle size malls. Jose is a prepper and shares his eyewitness accounts and survival stories from the collapse of his beloved Venezuela. Jose and his younger kid are currently back in Venezuela, after the intention of setting up a new life in another country didn’t go well. The SARSCOV2 re-shaped the labor market and South American economy so he decided to give it a try to homestead in the mountains, and make a living as best as possible. But this time in his own land, and surrounded by family, friends and acquaintances, with all the gear and equipment collected, as the initial plan was.
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Yeah, back in the Old West, barbers were dentists, too. Just get yourself a dentist-do-it-yourself kit and you were in business!
A couple of dentists, and a few other people with some sort of training in medical care in a prepping community have incredible value. Basic instruments and meds should be already being stockpiled, indeed.
Nice inspiration for the next generation to make wise choices, thank you Jose.
Venezuela was probably similar to South Africa. A prosperous country that functioned very well, even with its given issues (apartheid worked well for the circumstances and everyone had jobs, healthcare and education), until western sanctions forced a communist regime (the ANC with Nelson Mandela, trained by the brotherhood of Malta, chosen by the west) to take over and destabilise everything to the point where very little functions anymore today – except western exploitation by corporate companies – the brave elite did their scummy puppet work (by the commies) and we as people have to suffer the consequences as always.
Dentists can work for themselves and hopefully in future not for the corporates. They have a huge market of people that will pay or barter to make their pains go away.. always a need for this! good choice.
Thanks Kurt. I´m offering to my own kid this possibility, indeed. It´s interesting to learn about South Africa: my grampa was very close to start over again there. For some reason he decided to stay put in Venezuela. I´m yet to know some dentist around here that is not thriving. All of them are prosperous and have a good life.
I wish he wasn’t so hot-2-trot to move out. Living at home (albeit crowded) would allow him to save up money/purchase needed items ahead of time while contributing a bit to the household expenses. Having a cushion when you move out (on the QT of course) is a smart move.
We´re not exactly crowded; the house is two stories and we occupy the terrace, much cooler at nights, but…you know. I left home at 16, and came back a grown man with a child. LOL. I´ve matured, seen the world…I changed in some ways that sometimes other ones have a hard time to accept. My folks are having a blast with their only grandson though. That´s the reason I think twice before hurrying up too much…they´re both over 75, in good health, but I hope they will be there for many more years to enjoy seeing his offspring become someone just like I did. 🙂
Good article by Jose…Dentists are such an important human resource to have in your prepper community, whether urban or urban, especially one that can aid you when the electrical grid is down (in small-town and rural Venezuela it’s a daily occurrence for hours at a time).In my first outing writing a post-Apocalyptic adventure novela set in modern-day Venezuela, the self-sufficient village community that unites for protection against violent marauders is led by a savvy newcomer resident leader (an ex-backcountry adventure tour company owner with a mysterious past) that wisely recruited a resourceful dentist for his skills-rich MAG group before the balloon went up. The relative prosperity of the community made it a coveted sanctuary-oasis in a sea of chaos and hopelessness.
Have been really enjoying Jose’s reports on experiencing life first-hand (and thriving) in the ongoing Venezuelan crisis on this website. However, to prevent confusion among those not familiar with the ‘Spanglish’ that crops up on occasion in his redactions, I would suggest a bit of editing/proofreading by a native English speaker (preferably a writer) who is thoroughly familiar with the culture in Venezuela (and the typical mistakes the locals make when using their English). Keep’em comin’ Jose! Kudos. Expat greetings from Caracas.
Hey there Pete! Great to know. I can´t wait to read your novel. I´m old-school so I´m afraid I will have to take a printed copy for you to autograph it for me!
We´re working on that perfectioning process, indeed, to “nativize” my English. I´m used to technical English, which is much simpler and…direct, so to speak.