Where the Road Ends: A Home in the Brazilian Rainforest

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The colorful story of one couple’s journey across the world to build their dream home in the heart of the Amazon

In 1989, as their mid-life crises approached, concert pianist Binka Le Breton and her husband Robin, an agricultural economist, decided to uproot themselves from their home in Washington, D.C. and start a new life in Brazil.

Where the Road Ends is their story of building a house, a rainforest research center, and a new dream. Since then, they’ve learned how to work with the trees, the animals, the weather, the local community, and each other. Their technology now ranges from the oxcart to the Internet, and in 2000 they opened a rainforest conservation and research center that is visited by foreign researchers and Brazilian school children.

From meeting their resident cowboy, Albertinho, to beheading snakes, to chauffeuring a local wedding—the adventures described here are unparalleled. This delightful memoir takes the armchair traveler deep into another world where matters of providing food and shelter can never be taken for granted. Binka and Robin have embarked on an adventure that many readers only dream about—transplanting themselves in a different country and learning (often the hard way) what it takes to survive and flourish.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review.

This book reveals all the enchantment of the rainforest, as well as its mysteries and dangers. The author and her agricultural economist husband moved to Brazil twenty years ago to take over an abandoned farm in a beautiful but remote locale. Le Breton's story the challenges and joys they faced adapting to the community and working to realize their dream of bringing environmental awakening to the region through the establishment of the Iracambi Rainforest Research Center. Her tale has everything, from bandits to insane elections to horribly delayed projects to the artificial insemination of the cows. The cast of characters, colorful in the extreme, includes a squatter cowboy who can fix almost anything, neighbors involved in vendettas, homeless bridegrooms, and women who take sewing seminars in the farmhouse kitchen hoping to make money from the new skills, in spite of the prevailing attitude that a woman's place was in the home. In spite of myriad setbacks, there is tremendous goodwill. "Most Brazilians spent their salary the day they received it, and most shopkeepers put up their prices accordingly. If you were quick off the mark you might find an item in the supermarket going at last week's price, but the supermarket staff tended to be quicker than you were." Le Breton's can-do attitude and successful gerry-rigging makes her an entertaining MacGyver of the jungle.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Reviews
Memoir of building a life in the remote Brazilian jungle. In 1989, with their children grown and an itch for change, Le Breton (The Greatest Gift: The Courageous Life and Martyrdom of Sister Dorothy Stang, 2008, etc.) and her husband Robin left Washington, D.C., and purchased a farm in an isolated mountain region in southeastern Brazil. They named the farm Iracambi, a Tupi Indian word meaning "Land of Milk and Honey." However, it was anything but, with no electricity, no plumbing, no phone, mud roads that became impassable when it rained and a bridge to their property that threatened to collapse at any minute. Robin, an agricultural economist, was more prepared for the challenge of their new life, but Le Breton, a concert pianist, doubted her abilities and willingness to make Iracambi her permanent home. Perhaps more troubling was the insular and conservative nature of their new neighbors, who were passive in the face of generations of grinding poverty and deeply suspicious of outsiders. But there was work to be done, and slowly life on the farm began to improve. Iracambi became a successful cattle ranch, and Robin began plans for a new farm house. To help them, they hired a number of local people, and through such contacts they formed mutual bonds of respect and, eventually, love. Le Breton and Robin became a catalyst for much-needed change in the region, hiring women to work on seeding forest land and encouraging their new friends to take local elections seriously and elect leadership that would actually do something for them. Change did come, with new schools, paved roads, health services and, in the local village, the universal sign of progress: "a forest of television antennae." Theauthor changed as well, coming to love Iracambi and finding herself more capable than she thought. A good read for armchair travelers.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312574055
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 5/11/2010
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

BINKA LE BRETON runs the Iracambi Rainforest Research Center, lectures and broadcasts internationally on rainforest and human rights topics. She is also president of Amigos de Iracambi, and in her spare time writes books.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2014



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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2014

    Forestclan Med den

    A small cave covered with lichen and moss that is suprisingly warm. There are little hole to store herbs.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2014


    Tha classic sandy hollow except its on the bank of the river.

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  • Posted July 20, 2010

    Great Person + Great experience

    I have yet to read the book, but I did spent a summer on the Le Breton's farm. Binka and Robin are wonderful people doing fantastic work. Believe me when I tell you their property is awe-inspiring. The book is next on my list to read. If you cannot get to the farm, then do yourself a favor and pick up the book.

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews

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