BRAZIL: Men In White

Except for a fine old stucco church on the weed-grown plaza, the sleepy rubber town of Cametá has only two noteworthy buildings: a nondescript, 10-ft.-square structure housing a brand-new well, and a little white municipal health center. Both are the work of a joint U.S.-Brazilian organization called Servico Especial de Saude Publica (Special Public Health Service).

When SESP came to Cametá in 1944, the town's 550 families were getting their drinking water from the silt-laden Tocantins River. Their only plumbing facilities were the jungle bush behind their rickety shacks. Cametá had no...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!