Os últimos a partir
Once a work is finished, the preparations for breaking camp start. It was during this moment of transition, between the end of a project and the start of the necessary activities for withdrawal, that the photographer Almir Bindilatti and I arrived at Odebrecht’s shipyard in Uige, northwest Angola, more specifically 22 km from the city center.
For over three years, the shipyard was the home of hundreds of both Angolan and Brazilian members, who worked on the construction of almost 600 km of electricity transmission lines within the country. The site was also the center of administrative and management activities of the project. In May 2009, the peak of the project, 2,200 people worked in different functions. Not all of them lived in the shipyard, since many were hired in the region and were residing in cities and towns nearby.
For those unfamiliar with shipyards, as I was, those are a set of wooden sheds and containers adapted to function as dormitories, work rooms, restaurant, kitchen, nursery, warehouse, laundry, restrooms and other vital facilities to the work. When the project ends, an inventory of assets acquired during the contract is done, and those are given a destination. Among these assets there is a huge variety of items, from furniture to equipment and materials of the structure of the yard. It is also necessary to disarm the sheds.
In the case of the transmission lines contract, Odebrecht was leading a consortium, which had another two Spanish companies participating. At the “break camp” phase, the inventoried assets are cataloged by lots of equal value, and by door prize, returned to the shareholders who then decide what to do with them: sell, give, or take in other works.
Great part of the members of the operation is demobilized. When possible, some of them are invited to participate in new projects in their own country or elsewhere in the world, where the Odebrecht Group operates. At the moment, December 2010, the shipyard of Uige is practically empty. There are few who remained for the final stage.
Among the last to leave are Jupiracira Pereira, Assets Technician, and Bruno Vilas Boas, Head of Administration and Informational Technology (IT), both from Salvador. Jupira, as the colleagues know her, has been working with Odebrecht since 1979. The project in Uige was the first in which she worked outside Brazil. She went to Angola in September 2008. On the other hand, to Bruno, this was the first contract with Odebrecht. He has been in Angola for two and a half years.
At closure phase of the shipyard, when almost all my colleagues had gone, Jupira and Bruno remained to give support at the final activities. When we talked, both made plans to spend Christmas with his family in Brazil.