In the past, labor camps of Brazilian mega-projects at remote sites were rough-and-tumble affairs, marked by drunkenness, frequent fistfights and prostitution. "That doesn't fly these days," says Henrique Harold Dijkstra, project manager for Trachtebel Engineering GDF Suez, the owner's on-site representative at the Jirau dam.
Today's work camps, while not luxurious, are as comfortable as military bases, with barracks-style accommodations, laundries, chapels, rec rooms, theaters, internet cafes, branch banks and mess halls. The perimeter is fenced, and traffic in and out is tightly controlled. Bars and bordellos haven't disappeared, but they are off-site operations.