National Geographic : 1960 Jun
National Geographic, June, 1960 villages are in rebel-infested territory, the danger is great. Death lurks no farther than the next clump of trees. Still, the program has caught the French imagination. Every year hundreds of youths from both Algeria and metropolitan France enlist for the risky business of nursing and teaching the Moslem population. One such is Mademoiselle Francoise Carbon, a young graduate of the Sorbonne's Faculty of Letters, who spent several months as a volunteer nurse in the regroupment village of Ain Tida. With Mile. Carbon I set off one day to see the program in action. From Algiers we went by train to Affreville. A government official, wise in the ways of survival, suggested that we take the inoxydable, the express with stainless-steel coaches. "Though one must pay a supplement," he explained, "the inox gives much more protection than wooden coaches if it strikes a mine." Via inox, therefore, we proceeded to Affre- ville, thence to the dusty agricultural town of Carnot, where we joined the weekly truck convoy bound to Ain Tida, high in the hostile Dahra mountains. The convoy-bristling with machine guns-had formed in front of Car not's school for girls. Inside the big glass windows I could see European girls, their hair in pigtails, and Moslem girls, their hair hen naed a vivid red, sitting at double desks. Captain Charles Boyer-Artilleryman To my surprise, Charles Boyer commanded both the convoy and Ain Tida. But this Charles Boyer, I soon learned, had never seen Hollywood; he was a sinewy captain of the 42d Artillery Regiment. As the trucks growled up into the brown hills, he told me: "I've been in the army for 14 years now. And always there's been a war. First Ger many, then Indochina, now here. France is the one place a French officer rarely visits any more."