The time we can’t stop￼
Manu Melo Franco and his partner Hugo are Brazilian journalists and photographers. Before living on the road, they had a life “within the social patterns.” They felt uncomfortable: routine went against their desires. So they sought to build a more “healthy, harmonious and abundant” reality.
When they started their journey, they had a child, and she was pregnant, so Nina was born at the first stop (Chapada Diamantina). Then they moved to a permaculture eco-center in Pirenópolis, Goiás. Later they lived in Serra da Mantiqueira and now in Colonia (Uruguay), exchanging work for accommodation with an Australian family. “We live in a wonderful place, with many animals, a simple and prosperous life, and free children,” Manu says. They also create and support projects related to medical cannabis: “It is one of the revolutions we believe in the most ”, she defines. They are committed to cannabis health and social reparation after years of prohibitionism.
Beyond her training, photography took on another role for Manu when her children were born. She began to build a large album of their lives. They often sit together to look at them, to relive childhood moments. “One of the greatest magic of photography is that it keeps a time that we can’t stop,” says Manu.
What is it like to be a mother on the road?
Tome is now ten years old, and Nina is seven; they grew up traveling and learning this lifestyle. I love the experience of being a mother and being able to offer them a healthy childhood, far from the excesses of consumption, from those social patterns from which we decided to escape. It is a tremendous challenge for Hugo and me to transform ourselves so that they have us as worthy referents of sustainability, care for others, nature, respect for gender, anti-racism, self-love, and social equity. Children can be agents of change in the world, and we must prepare them for something better than what we were.
If you are a mother living in the city, working eight hours a day, paying high bills, and having little time to enjoy your children, motherhood is much more difficult. They are not always choices. They can be impositions of the capitalist system that tries to control lives, suppressing possibilities of freedom. The state does not favor or create options to support mothers. Their domestic work is not valued, and society does not endorse and assume its share of responsibility towards mothers.
My children do not know any other way of life, except when they visit family in the city. When they arrive, they question the amount of garbage in the streets, offer help to anyone, and notice the lack of animals. When they grow up, they may choose to live differently. We offer possibilities, not imposing them; we create what we want, little by little.
How did Amabis come about?
Amabis is a project created by Hugo. There has always been and still is the stigma of consumers as something negative. We do not hide our passion for cannabis from anyone, not even our families. Last year medical cannabis started to gain a voice in Brazil, and we decided it was time to take a stand. Since then, our lives have been studying, learning, and supporting people with the medicine we believe in.
People consume allopathic medicines that are not compatible with the human body but are consistent with the pharmaceutical industry and capitalism. Stop using this type of medication and obtain results never imagined with a plant is very beautiful and inspiring. It is a path of freedom. Amabis aims to welcome people who want a better quality of life, are tired of treatments without practical results and want to live better and healthier.
We have served hundreds of people, thanks to the excellent network of doctors we have. We have donated social consultations to those who cannot afford them. We have received free medicines to help families who cannot afford the treatments. We have produced quality content so that more people can benefit from it. Cannabis medicine should be for everyone, like nature.
Even though we don’t have severe pathologies at home, it has helped us in terms of sleep quality, anxiety, body aches, mood, and concentration. It is incredible support for our physical and mental health. This is one of the most important revolutions. We also chose to stay in Uruguay, where the laws are more advanced. We will keep going forward, getting stronger and greener.
Where is Brazil in the debate?
Brazilian drug policy is a horror, decimating thousands of families for years and targeting black and poor people. We cannot forget the importance of black people from the slums, who have supported until today cannabis as medicinal and recreational use of so many white people with money.
We can already observe progress in other countries, but still with social and political limitations. People used cannabis as medicine hundreds of years ago. Prohibition has done massive damage and kept us trapped in stigma. The social harm caused by this is enormous. Social redress must also be on the agenda.
We need to move from the paradigm of drugs, war, money, police, and criminals to get out of this myopic view of marijuana. Cannabis should be about public health, social repair, awareness, and autonomy.