A tribute to Francisco Varatojo (Chico)

francisco varatojo

A tribute to Francisco Varatojo (Chico)

Over the years I have used this newsletter to recognized the passing and the life’s work of some of the great teachers I have had the pleasure and privilege of knowing; Herman Aihara, Aveline Kushi, Michio Kushi, Shizuko Yamamoto in particular. Today I add another important teacher to this list, unfortunately a young man who should have had many more years  - Francisco Varatojo -Chico. He died last week in a diving accident leaving his wife and 4 children together with thousands of friends and students to grieve his loss.


Some years ago I went to Lisbon to follow a seminar with Michio Kushi. I hadn’t seen Michio or Chico for a number of years and needed to charge my batteries in a way that only Michio could. Before the seminar began Michio asked me to introduce myself and say a few words about the work we were doing in Italy. As I stood and walked to the middle of the stage the entire crowd started to laugh, luckily I knew exactly why. There in the middle of the stage was Chico who would translate and the juxtaposition of Chico with me was indeed funny. Chico was a rather short Portuguese man and I am a rather tall American man (you might say extremely tall).  At the end of my presentation I put my arm around Chico and said that of anyone there that evening he was the true giant. He was a giant of knowledge and teaching, of commitment, of friendship and family and especially dedication to  making the world a better place.


A giant has left us and the world is a smaller place


Michio always said that he was looking to find a few people who could truly understand his message of the importance of diet and lifestyle for the creation of world peace. His teaching is that to create world peace you need peaceful healthy people, otherwise all efforts will be in vain. He knew he would not see world peace in his lifetime but he knew that he was making a huge contribution towards its future realization. It all comes down to a question of mathematics. If each of his students could create two other teachers and each of those could create two others and so on, within a fairly short time we would have a voice so strong that we could begin to change the direction of the world. I talked about this in an italian newsletter, which I invite you check out on our website in the archives of the newsletter.


Part of this mathematical certainty is also expressed in the experience of the hundredth monkey, an experiment done on some islands off the coast of Japan that are inhabited by monkeys. On one of the islands they introduced a new food source to see their reaction, the food was a kind of sweet potato. They noticed that some of the monkeys would take the potato to the river and wash it before eating and that gradually more and more monkeys were doing the same thing. They then introduced the potatoes to other islands and observed the same tendency. The surprising, and particularly significant part of the story is that once a certain percentage of the monkeys on the first island starting washing the potatoes all of sudden all of them did, and contemporaneously all the monkeys on the other islands as well. The reference to the hundredth monkey is relative to the one monkey that tipped the balance and created the critical mass that caused them all to change.


Considering the growth or our school, the growing interest in vegetarian and vegan diets and the presence of more and more trained teachers and counselors (gli operatori olitici con indirizo nutrizionale e operatori olisitici “cuochi” e “insegnanti di cucina” ) I believe that the hundredth human is not too far off.


Even if this does not happen in my lifetime I have a mathematical certainty that it will in the future. What we need are trained people who have experienced the benefits of our diet and lifestyle in their own lives and can share it with at least two people.  Our school, like that of Chico and many others is dedicated to helping as many people as possible to create health and happiness in their lives and to train those who truly understand its importance and want to share it in a professional and effective way.


Another important image in our teachings is that of the spiral. All things change and develop following a spiralic motion, form the sprout of a plant to the movement of a galaxy. A spiral starts at a single point and slowly grows from something almost imperceptible to a force that expands in a logarithmic progression getting exponentially wider and wider. For this spiral to grow powerfully it needs a very strong base. In our case that base is created by an understanding of the natural balance that exists in nature and how to apply it to our diet and lifestyle. It is based on experience and not just study, an experience that includes our errors and our successes. Our strength must come from coherence and not expediency to the latest diet or mode. It must include effective communication,  professional materials and the sharing of our experience and talents. La Sana Gola is working everyday to allow our spiral of peace and health to grow and everyone is invited to participate. I invite you to imagine a vortex of energy growing and carrying with it the dreams and efforts of our teachers and friends who have gone before us, the unstoppable vortex of the desire we all have for a world of health and peace.


These are the thoughts and images that come to my mind as I elaborate the loss of a friend and a colleague and I know Chico would be in agreement.