Stephan arrived in Janesville, Wisconsin from his home in Schoemanskloof, South Africa on March 15, 2018. Like all of the workers who came here from South Africa, he went through a complex process with a company in South Africa that places workers in a United States work environment. MacFarlane Pheasants, Inc. was one of the employers that signed up with that company to accept workers who were vetted and could obtain a work visa. This is MacFarlane’s second year in the program. Stephan has nothing but praise for his opportunity to work at MacFarlane Pheasants, Inc.
When he was asked what he likes best about working at our farm and in the United States, he said, “The people are so friendly and there’s almost no crime. It’s clean. We get more pay here for work, compared to my work at home. I have worked outside my whole life and I like it, so MacFarlane Pheasants is the perfect opportunity to work outdoors while having a new experience.”
Stephan was a heavy earth moving mechanic in the mines in South Africa. Here, he says he has learned a whole new skill set. “I have learned about the many different kinds of game birds, how many eggs they lay a day, and what type of food they eat. I spend my days walking between barns and picking eggs the entire day. It is quite different from the type of work I do at home.”
Stephan is from a farm in Nelspruit, in a small town called Schoemanskloof. Nelspruit is the capital city of Mpumalanga and is an hour’s drive from the Kruger National Park. It is a beautiful area surrounded by mountains and forests. Stephan enjoys his home and is very close to his family. He says, “They are very kind and we look after each other.”
When I ask Stephan about his adjustment to the United States, he said that a friend he met in Janesville has helped him adjust to his life in our country and he is thankful for that experience. He wants to learn as much as he can about working on a pheasant farm and the culture of the United States.
Stephan also said that there are some things he would like to do socially before he returns home. He would love to go snowboarding, go fishing, drink a beer in Chicago, and see a real football and baseball game! A visit to a place like New York City would be a real thrill.
MacFarlane Pheasants has benefited from Stephan’s work on our farm and hopes that his experience provides a long-term benefit to his life and work when he returns to South Africa in December.