Our beautiful onsite butterfly garden, known as Mickey's Mariposario, is officially open! Mickey Freeman served as a missionary with Faithful Servant Missions in Bajo Tejares, San Ramon, Costa Rica. Once getting the greenhouse project off the ground, Mickey's next mission was to create an oasis where everyone can enjoy a place for meditation, prayer and tranquility. Mickey, along with the local mission staff, visited a local family run butterfly farm in La Paz (San Ramón) where they met the Warner family. This family provided a wealth of information on how to begin the project and so we began construction of our very own butterfly project in late 2016.
The structure was completed in early 2017 and the first butterflies were introduced in April of 2017. The vision of the project is for the children to work and maintain the garden. With the supervision of the teachers and staff, the children are able to cultivate patience, understand the changes and cycles of life, to care for the environment along with the growing and preservation of butterflies.
The target group is the pre-adolescents, as this is the most vulnerable group in the community of Bajo Tejares. Thus, by studying the egg, larva, pupa and adult butterfly; teenagers can see the stages that they also experience in their lives. Physically seeing and experiencing the stages of development lends itself to understanding the need for patience to grow without hurry because everything comes in its time.
Mickey had a story of hope, healing, and transformation. God changed Mickey’s life in a very powerful way. His legacy of the garden serves as a way to touch the lives of the children that he loved. One such life is that of Kenia, who was involved in our education programs as well as ministries for many years. At the age of 15, she became involved in drugs. The community of Bajo Tejares is still overwhelmed by the presence of drugs and its effects are devastating in the lives of so many. Kenia was fortunate to enter a state sponsored rehabilitation program. Upon her release, she returned to the mission wanting to become involved again. Our staff knew the butterfly garden was the perfect place for her. Kenia started this journey as a broken teenage girl looking for a place to begin the healing process and her transformation has been beautiful to watch as she has faithfully come to the butterfly garden to serve and grow.
The Greenhouse Project
Mickey Freeman served as a missionary with Faithful Servant Missions in Bajo Tejares, San Ramon, Costa Rica. His love of nature and the children of this community were the basis for his dream of working with the children in gardening and nature. With a background in horticulture and extensive knowledge in agriculture, he raised funds and began the greenhouse project at the mission.
The greenhouse is located in the northeast section of land on mission grounds next door to the pastor's house. At approximately ten meters long, the greenhouse is able to accommodate a variety of crops. Thus far, the children have had great success with lettuce, onions, and cilantro to name a few. Just behind the enclosed space is a special compost area where the children are taught to use all resources available, not wasting any viable material.
By working with the crops from seedlings to harvest, the children are able to learn a variety of lessons about dedication, responsibility, and patience. Our staff works with a select group of children that changes by season so that many can take advantage of this very special initiative at the mission.
We incorporate a variety of special enrichment programming for children of all ages at the mission, including our field trips! Since the start of our field trip program, we have taken children and teenagers in groups of 10-15 with staff and adult chaperones to a variety of places. The purpose of this program is to provide all of our students with an expanded view of the world, outside of what the know in their small, poverty-stricken community. The preschoolers have visited a children's museum in San Jose, the fire station in San Ramon, and butterfly garden on the outskirts of San Ramon. The elementary aged children have visited Dos Pinos, which is the largest dairy factory in Costa Rica, and also Hotel Villa Blanca which has extensive nature and scenic paths through the cloud forrest. The high schoolers were able to visit a large hotel chain in San Jose to learn more about the tourism industry in Costa Rica, as well as a visit to Boston Scientific's manufacturing facility.