Ntuembeng-Cameroon: my mama’s home town
That is mama Celine’s home (my mama in Cameroon as I have a US mom as well). It is pronounced two-wehm-beng (N at the beginning is silent or a glutal sound that does not exist in the English language). Ntuembeng means “Head of the land” in Metta. Etuh is head and mbeng is farm, land, farmland or property.
This place is at the tip of the tallest hills of the Metta lands hence, it’s name. It is so remote it is not even on google yet, that’s saying a lot. I could not find any pictures, no videos, no articles, nothing so this will be a first. Maybe I should start a separate blog dedicated to Ntuembeng just to get it some internet presence. All I remember of Ntuembeng is being on my mom’s back on the trip there when I was a young baby, possibly under 2 yrs old…this is not a memory from someone telling me, it’s a memory from my own memory bank. I remember random things from my childhood that stick out. That trip must have been extremely long it stuck out. There were and still are no roads up there so even if you owned a car you had to walk up those hills to get to Ntuembeng. Makes you wonder how our people got to settle there way back when. I have a theory about that. The fertile mountain soils and fresh clean rock springs. Most importantly the height advantage keeps invaders out, especially during the holy wars and islamic wars of 647-709A.D. In which case the more hidden you are from the invaders the better your chances of survival and survived they did 🙂
My maternal grandpa had 2 wives. I know this is a strange concept for Americans/Europeans but…it was part of the culture and socially acceptable. Both my grandpas passed while I was still a teen in Cameroon, 13 or 15 not quite sure. I don’t remember my step grandma, I don’t know if I ever met her I’m sure I did. She had a tragic accident I don’t remember the details of. I think she fell in a creek and got washed away by a waterfall is all I remember vaguely when I was 11 or 12.
My sweet grandma just passed last Oct 2018 in her late 90s, I want to say she was about 96 or 98yrs old not sure exactly. I asked my uncle and he said he thought she was around 96yrs old. She had no ailments. 8 children (4 boys, 4 girls). She lived to a good old age. She went to sleep and didn’t wake up so she died in her sleep. Life expectancy in Cameroon is said to be around 58yrs old but grandma lived a healthy, fulfilling life close to a century old or a few years shy of it. She was loved by all and is dearly missed. The sweetest, kindest, most beautiful person I have every known. I’ll let you see for yourself. This is a pretty recent picture, she looked this good at that age…I want to be like her when I grow up. We love you grandma…
Mama Celine is a very special woman, almost as special as grandma was. I love her very much. I get my strength and resilience from her, my smarts and creativity from dad, not to say mom is not smart because she is. In her days women were not sent to higher education because it was considered a waste of money. A lot of women did not go to school at all. I haven’t asked mom if she went to primary school or not. Most African women are homemakers so at 18 mom was arranged to be married to my dad and moved from Ntwembeng to Douala where she had me and all 5, now 4 of my sibblings. You will meet the rest of the immediate family soon. Here’s a picture of my biological mom and dad to the readers right on the picture below. Ima Celine is in white and yellow, that is the CWF (Christian Women Fellowship) uniform. She is very active, she played and coached handball, dad played soccer. Mom was also in several different choirs in the Presbyterian church, a powerful prayer warrior. Faith in our family is a big deal. It’s the bond that binds us all together, and also to the Almighty creator of the universe, as we would say in Metta, Yahweh yeh Nwieh (YHWH is Elohim/God). Mom can usually sense it when I’m in pain so I don’t share a lot of my struggles with her because I don’t want her to worry about me. She usually knows even if I don’t tell her, she just doesn’t know the details. We video chat on whatsapp when she has minutes in her phone. He phone is messed up right now so we are mostly texting, when I have some money I will send for her to get a new phone.