In Uganda, as in Canada, people plan for the future. Pining for the day when they can hang up their work boots and retire. However, the manner in which these plans are made in these two nations is entirely different. In Canada, many invest in Retirement Savings Plans. The retirement plans in Uganda are often much less formal. In the community surrounding Kibale National Park, the people have rooted their savings in an ingenious way – planting pines. This softwood tree can be cut and sold as building material. As the tree matures, the value of the wood increases. Thus, investing in planting seedlings can provide large returns for an individual given the one or two decades required to reach maturity. Without formal banks and institutions the people rely on the direct wealth that nature can provide them with. We all pine for a secure future, but the paths we take to get there can be different in surprising ways.
Reflection by: Liz Favot, Erika Freeman, Spencer Yeung, Angelina Zhu