Our Pig

We bought a pig. We will keep it in Africa. It wouldn’t be fair to make our pig live in our house in the city. So Wilbur will be staying with a family in Africa.

As I am sure you have figured out, our family made a contribution to a charity. Our kids (ages 12 and 8) broke open their piggy banks and we all put a few dollars towards this ungulate project. $90 buys a (married?) couple which goes to a family that will benefit from the boars.

The charity that will provide the porkers is Plan Canada. It has been around for about 80 years. Other Plan Canada projects include the anti-malaria Spread the Net program, Because I Am Girl, and a variety of community programs. The thing I like about this outfit is that they try to break the cycle of poverty by providing tools to families. Those tools may include a couple of pigs which (in theory) are not to be eaten but rather will be used to raise more pigs, some of which may be sold or, well, maybe cooked. But you get the idea. You can donate money for sheep, goats, chickens, or seeds, shovels, and hoes. These are intended to enhance economic security, but Plan Canada also provides wells for clean water, builds schools, and makes sanitation systems for villages. The group also sponsors women and girls’ education in a big way.

In past years, Plan Canada would also provide beehives if that’s where you wanted your money to go. Their blurb mentioned pollination, “saving the bees”, honey, wax, and self-sufficiency – but their accompanying photograph was of a modern, white, two-storey Langstroth hive. I had trouble with the idea and didn’t donate to it. I thought Plan Canada should find a way to help local beekeeping by offering local equipment. Our western hive-style might work in some places, but maintenance of such equipment would be a hassle in many parts of the world. Plan Canada seem to have agreed.

Anyway, if you would like to help, Plan Canada seems a worthy outfit. If you live in the USA or elsewhere, I think Plan Canada is part of Plan International so you could contact them. If you are not keen on farm animals and clean water, there are other groups that provide famine and emergency relief for the truly desperate. It seems Plan Canada is trying to use donations responsibly with the goal of helping families become self-sufficient. And who wouldn’t love to buy a pig – and keep it at someone else’s house?

About Ron Miksha

Ron Miksha is a bee ecologist working at the University of Calgary. He is also a geophysicist and does a bit of science writing and blogging. Ron has worked as a radio broadcaster, a beekeeper, and Earth scientist. (Ask him about seismic waves.) He's based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
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