Documentary: The Tale of Menteh, A Community Journeying from a Rural Retreat to a Residential Oasis

Situated just over three kilometers from Mile Four junction the rising business hub of the Bamenda III Municipality, Menteh has emerged as an unexpected peaceful and highly cherished residential area, diverging from the hustle and bustle of the nearby central town including the Nkwen urban area.

Venturing into Menteh today reveals a landscape drastically different from a mere few years ago. The area has experienced a surge in development, with new structures and infrastructure dotting the once-sparse terrain. Despite the absence of a tarred road, Menteh's allure remains undeniable, drawing settlers from far and wide.

The first people to have made Menteh a major attraction were the Piarist Fathers better known as Calasanzian Fathers; a missionary congregation of the Roman Catholic Church with Spanish origin. They built a school then a church, an Emaus Center then created Mount Calvary with a cross where their Christians went to pray on Accession Thursday (believe to be the day Jesus went to heaven body and soul) 
The Menteh Catholic Church now over populated as a result of increased residents 

They will later built recreational facilities including a hall and dormitories for youth and children activities. 

"The growth we've witnessed in Menteh is nothing short of remarkable," remarks Tamutan, a long-time resident. "It's because of the peaceful spirit of our community."

One might wonder what draws people to Menteh despite its remoteness. The answer lies in the community's crown jewel – the Menteh Waterfall, affectionately known as Nefi in the local language. This natural wonder serves as both a tourist attraction and a cultural touchstone for Menteh and Nkwen as a village. Yet, the lack of infrastructure hasn't deterred settlement; rather, it adds to Menteh's allure as a hidden gem waiting to be discovered.

"Menteh may not have all the conveniences of urban life, but it offers something far more precious – a sense of tranquility and connection to nature," explains Sarah Wirsiy, a newcomer to the area. "That's what drew me here, and I haven't looked back since."

Reflecting on Menteh's evolution over the past decade, it's evident that the community has undergone a profound metamorphosis. Once deemed a rural outpost due to its distance from the main road (N11), Menteh now stands as a thriving center of activity, characterized by its welcoming atmosphere and tight-knit community spirit.

Today, away from the lone Catholic Primary school constructed many years ago, Menteh now has a major agriculture training center, The Nazareth Center and modern Secondary School, Saint Joseph Calasanz College still owned by the Piarist. 
The closest houses to the sacred fall

"Ten years ago, Menteh was a different place altogether," recalls Ndi Funwie, a revered Elder in the community. "The landscape has changed, but the warmth and hospitality of our people remain unchanged."

The journey towards progress has not been without its challenges. As development encroaches upon the sacred grounds surrounding the Nefi waterfall, residents are adamant about preserving its sanctity.

"Our waterfall is more than just a touristic attraction; it's a symbol of our heritage and identity. While we welcome growth, we must also safeguard our cultural treasures." Funwie said 

Indeed, the Menteh Waterfall plays a pivotal role in the community's livelihood, serving as the primary water source for the Bamenda III Council's purification scheme. Through a collaborative effort with Trier City, Germany, the purification plant in Neberr has not only ensured access to clean water but has also catalyzed Menteh's development.

"Access to clean water is essential for our well-being and prosperity," affirms Marie, a local entrepreneur. "The purification scheme as you can see there has been a game-changer for our community, elevating us onto the big stage."
During my visit to Menteh 

From the vantage point of the Nefi hills, Menteh's trajectory is unmistakable – it's a city in the making. However, with growth comes the responsibility to plan thoughtfully and sustainably.

"Urban planning is crucial in ensuring that Menteh's growth is managed responsibly," states Dr. Ngwa Lawrence, a leading urban planner. "The council must take proactive measures to preserve Menteh's unique character while accommodating future development."

Amidst the rapid pace of change, one thing is certain – Menteh's journey is far from over, and the best is yet to come.

By Bakah Derick 
Tel: 6 94 71 85 77 

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