75 Years of Stories
As we launch a series of 75 stories, celebrating 75th anniversary of Initiatives of Change in Caux, Yara Zgheib from Lebanon reflects on this special place at the heart of Swiss Alps which has changed lives of many people from all over world:
'I stepped off the mountain train with a heavy blue suitcase; I was angry and tired and grieving. I was 21 and had lost so much. I had not had lunch, or much sleep. I had no expectations. A stranger took me to an empty dining hall and offered me a sandwich.
I found myself suspended between the blues of lake and sky. I spent the rest of the month serving meals to hundreds of people. I also dined with rebels, musicians, students, activists, coffee bean farmers, priests, sheikhs and a former Vice-President of her country. I folded linen, washed plates. For the first time in my life, I was quiet.
But my story is not special, or mine. It belongs to this conference centre. It is 75 years long and contains hundreds of thousands of train rides, walks, talks, teas, conversations, and quiet moments of giant transformation.'
1982: Paul Tournier – Medicine of the personOne of my most powerful memories of well over 50 years of Caux conferences comes from 1982: sitting in a translation cabin, looking down on the Great Hall, and interpreting from French into English fo... Read More
1981: Stanley Kinga and Agnes Hofmeyr – ‘It came into my heart that I must tell her’When Agnes Hofmeyr sat down to dinner in Caux with her compatriot, Stanley Kinga, in 1981, she had no idea of the bombshell he was about to drop. Read More
1980: Su Riddell – A new start in lifeIn July 1980, a one-man show about St Francis, Un Soleil en Pleine Nuit, premiered in Caux. It starred French mime artist Michel Orphelin, and was written by British playwright Hugh Steadman Williams,... Read More
1979: Erik Andren – Laying foundations for freedomIn 1979, a series of summer conferences for families, organized by Dutch parents, began in Caux. Erik Andren and his wife, Sheila, came from the UK to take part. It was the first of many visits. Read More
1978 - Heinz and Gisela Krieg: Take Germany, for exampleAmong the 450 people who took part in 1978/1979 winter conference in Caux was a large group from Germany. They were there to present an unusual play, Zum Beispiel Deutschland (Take Germany, for exampl... Read More
1977: Alec Smith and Arthur Kanodereka – ‘Now I call him brother’The two colleagues who visited the conference centre in Caux in 1977 from Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) could not have been more different. One was Alec Smith, the renegade son of the white Prime Minister, ... Read More
1976: Alison Wetterfors – A skeleton in the soup potCooking for hundreds of people takes skill and courage at the best of times – and all the more so when your team speaks several languages and includes people who have rarely cooked before. Read More
1975: Conrad Hunte – ‘Take courage!’The West Indian cricketer Conrad Hunte was often at the conference centre in Caux in the years following his retirement from first class cricket in 1967. So much so that he once said that he was havin... Read More
1974: Vendela Tyndale-Biscoe – ‘A life you could never dream of’When she came to Caux in December 1974, Swedish actress Vendela Tyndale-Biscoe (then Lofgren) had everything she had ever thought she wanted. That year, at the age of 24, she had been given a permanen... Read More
1973: Kim Beazley – ‘Essence of intelligent statesmanship’In 1973 Australia’s national elections brought a Labor Government to power, and Kim Beazley – a familiar face at Caux – was appointed Minister for Education. Beazley was determined to ensure that ever... Read More
1972: Nagia Abdelmogney Said: ‘Language of the heart’In 1972, three Egyptian students arrived in Caux. Their visit sparked a remarkable series of exchanges in which more than 200 Arab and British students took part over the next decades. Read More
1971: Canon Wi Te Tau Huata - ‘It felt as if a ton had fallen from my back’For Caux’s 25th anniversary in 1971, a charter plane brought 124 people from Australasia and the Pacific, including a group of Māori from New Zealand. As it flew up the coast of Italy, their leader, C... Read More
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