“We are feeding the nation”
This story is one in a series from Frances Chisholm highlighting stories of lives impacted by World Poultry Foundation programs and workshops both in the U.S. and abroad. We encourage you to learn more about Ms. Chisholm and our poultry projects in South Africa.
Thembisile Mhlongo was eagerly awaiting her U.S. visa interview when South Africa locked down in March to prevent the spread of COVID-19. She was scheduled to join Seh Dlamini at the Rose Acres Farm in Arizona on a one-year poultry farm internship funded by the World Poultry Foundation. Ever optimistic about what lies ahead, she says, “I’m expecting to enjoy learning more, making friends, and I want to leave a good mark.”
Coming from a farming family on the South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal province, Thembisile grew up among goats, sheep, cows and farm crops, but it was always the chickens that grabbed her heart. “I love poultry,” she exclaims. “I have the patience for chickens and I’m proud to be a farmer.”
The young South African completed her in-service practical training as a Meat Quality Controller at the Riversmead Poultry Farm near home and also at the Beauvallet Poultry Farm where she continues to work during lockdown. She feels fortunate to have the job where her focus, once again, is quality control. She enjoys the small farm’s mix of layers, broilers, and raising birds for the local live market. “We are feeding the nation,” says Thembisile proudly, “it’s not breakfast if you don’t have an egg.”
Thembisile also gained catering experience during her student days, so she takes extra pleasure in another side of her job, assisting in the preparation of chicken pies. The Beauvallet Farm restaurant is currently closed, but demand for its homemade chicken pies remains strong.
Thembisile, we think, like Seh, you’ll also fall in love with the American kitchen that awaits you in Arizona. And there’s no end to what you’ll learn on the American farm.
For now, keep safe, keep feeding the nation, and we hope you’ll be on your way to the U.S. soon!
The South African interns participate on a J-1 visa exchange visitor program sponsored by the WISE Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization based in Dyersburg, Tennessee.
Ms. Frances Chisholm
Friend & Supporter of the WPF
Learn More About Frances