Rio Patagonia

Although we are not recommending Argentina right now, we still thought we would show you more of a relatively small town that we like, Viedma, Argentina. This is a photo of the town, taken from the river that runs between the town of Patagones and Viedma. You can read about Viedma at Since that article was written, Viedma became the capitol of Rio Negro Province. It has been primarily an agricultural community before it became a government center as well. It is located in Patagonia. The world´s largest kayak race takes place on this river once a year. Less than twenty minutes out of town the fish will almost (but not quite) bite on a bare hook. It is also the home of a colony of seals, which are seasonally visited by hungry Orcas.

We are not promoting Argentina because of the coming financial crisis and we don´t know how things will go. As stated before, there are investors just waiting for the good buys, there is a good-sized group of businessmen and families, many are billionaires, who are building a luxury retreat in the north of Argentina and they certainly have a history of making good financial decisions and yet . . . for us–we choose the road of caution.

Finance and Investments

Our thanks to Ron, head of the Uruguay Phyle in Punta del Esta, for the following message about a five hour speech by Jim Sinclair in NY recently. We consider anything that comes from Jim Sinclair important.

For years I have subscribed to a number of successful financial analysts but I especially owe two of them a great deal. One of them is Jim Sinclair. The other is Robert Chapman of the International Forecaster who left us last year, sadly, a victim of pancreatic cancer. Bob warned us perhaps seven years ago to begin to retrieve our money out of private retirement funds because there was a move afoot to take control of it. So I had an early warning. As for Jim Sinclair, if the entire recording were available I would listen to all five hours. I share this with our readers in the hope it will provide information that will arm you guys against future loss, as his advice has done for me over the years. Ron suggests we send this on to those family and friends that we really care about. See his message and links below:

Hey and what about this, even Bernanke saying US depositor haircut possible:

(I’m considering lowering bank deposits and increasing currency and cash held in non-bank form at brokerages.)

Living in Uruguay and Building Community

On a recent trip to Uruguay it was my privilege to meet with some readers of the Four Flags Journal that I had never met before. I LOVE hearing from you guys and meeting you is a special privilege.

One of these women told me a story of community among the expats there in Uruguay that made me proud. She had experienced a medical emergency and was hospitalized, far from family and friends. In South America it is pretty common for a family member or friend to go and be with you in the hospital in case you need something. In one case I did that for an Argentina woman here in Buenos Aires. It was only for a very long day as she underwent tests, some of which required anesthesia. She did not stay overnight.

But in the case of this expat, other expats took her dog and cared for it, looked after her house, and different ones came and sat with her in the hospital. She told me that they were absolutely wonderful.

This is the kind of story that makes me proud to be one of you. One thing I find with the readers of the Four Flags Journal, most of you are a different breed. You are not sheep–you are thinkers. You don’t follow the crowd, no matter what CNN has to say. And you care!

Don’t misunderstand and expect this to be a picture of all expats. It is not. There is a group that came only for the tango and the night life. But there is another group of expats who tend to be serious thinkers with both feet on the ground. And there are those in the middle.

I really think that this community spirit was built into us by God but has somehow been dulled by the culture and that, in allowing ourselves to be turned away from it, we are the losers. Today people can live next to their neighbors and never know them. By contrast, remember the American history accounts of how in the early days, when a farmer set out to build a barn, the whole community came? The women brought food (an early version of the “pot luck”) and the men would build the entire barn in a day or two¬. Or if a farmer were sick or injured, the other men would come and harvest? They just did it! In fact, I understand the Amish still do that. The women bring food and it is a social gathering of the community along with the work.

The reason I think God put community in us naturally is because it is so rewarding to be a part of a caring community. It really feels good to love your neighbors without expecting anything in return—just for the joy of it! For anyone reading this who has not made this discovery in this crazy world we live in nowadays, I certainly hope you give it a try. And if your neighborhood is not a “community” perhaps you could be the person with whom it will begin.

My own family was a recipient once of an amazing spirit of community that we least expected but I never forgot. I mentioned the Amish above. Please always understand that we do not promote any denomination. In fact, this writer has little patience with the denominational mindset. But we give credit where credit is due. The Mennonites are a split off from the Amish. They just had some different ideas. They don’t necessarily dress in what we will call the “uniform,” they don’t necessarily wear beards, and so on. And they drive cars instead of horses.

I was a member of a denominational church in good standing at the time I found out my husband had cancer. But I was also attending a private, interdenominational Bible study group on Tuesday nights that I had no idea was organized by a Mennonite couple. That was never mentioned and we even had Catholics in attendance. All of common faith were welcome, and even if you were an atheist you would be welcome though you probably would not be comfortable, but welcome you would be. It was quite a large group—25 to 30 in attendance on any given Tuesday and of course more than that were loosely connected to the group.

During our ordeal of illness, I knew they were praying for us but after a while I could no longer attend. When my husband died, leaving me with two young children, a Mennonite man showed up on my doorstep and said he would be there every week to mow our grass and see if there was anything that we needed. I was not and am not Mennonite. But the Bible says that we are to take care of the widows and orphans and they take it seriously. They fully intended to follow that commandment. And they did. They never asked for anything. They just showed up on schedule for as long as I lived there a widow to check to see if all was well and to mow the grass.

We lived in Dade County, Florida, at the time. These people were young families who lived in the city but they had brought their culture with them. For hedges they planted–not the normal Florida ornamentals–but berry bushes. How practical they were. The women ground their own flour with—get this—a manual grinder, and made their own bread. They were very aware of the need for pure, unadulterated food. In fact, the first person I ever met in person who recovered from cancer after being given up by medical doctors was a member of the Mennonite community in Homestead, Florida. He employed the same program I did, raw, organic fruits, vegetables and grains, vegetable juice, and no animal products. But . . . . I digress!

I hope that we can bring this community spirit into our own communities, wherever we light. Not saying that we should do exactly the same–but each in our own way–and include our South American neighbors. It is true that we can’t change the world. But I believe we can have a deep effect on OUR world, wherever we are. And the more self-dependent we can be, and the less dependent on the powers that be and the mega corporations, the more freedom we will have.

I buy almost everything from local vendors right here in my Buenos Aires neighborhood. I buy from the international chains only if I can’t get it from a local mom and pop store or a farmer’s market. Soap is one thing I visit Carefour supermarket for, but if I knew a local with a cottage industry of making soap, I would buy there if their product worked.

Incidentally, big things can come from cottage industries, so if you have a skill or a talent in some area, perhaps you should think about developing that skill. My daughter in the States is friendly with a woman who started making candles in her bathroom. Today that same lady owns a candle factory in Washington, D.C., with many employees. But she is still a local industry.

My own community is very close around me in my neighborhood in Buenos Aires. I know the small vendors and they smile and some of them greet me with a kiss. That IS South America! Of course I don’t go in there for the kisses, but you can see difference in the “community” situation.

We were privileged to welcome a brand new expat couple here last week and look forward to the day that we get to greet YOU . . . in South America! But until then, see you right here next week!

Four Flags

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