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Are the five star Dubai hotel’s golf club, jacuzzi and sauna too similar to your own luxury flat or mansion? Do you want to turn your next holiday into a unique adventure? Fetba in West Cameroon could be the answer.

27 February 2012 31,103 views 7 Comments
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Fetba is a small village in Cameroon – albeit one with a population of one thousand.  The country, also known as the ‘hinge of Africa’ by historians, is one of the best destinations for anyone yearning to acquire a wide knowledge of Africa and its cultures.

Dr Raymond-Tchakounté -II  Fetba West Cameroon

Fetba village is a subdivision of Bazou, Nde department of West Cameroon. The West Cameroon region is actually the smallest of the country’s ten-, and about the size of the county of Kent in the United Kingdom. Located in the central west of Cameroon.

The people of the region, the Bamoun (sometimes called Bamum), are geographically and culturally close  to the  Bamiléké . The Bamiléké are the folk native from the grasslands of west Cameroon: the term also refers to the group of language they speak.

The tiniest in size, yet the largest in population density, is also one of the most developed of the regions. West Cameroon is home to sharp entrepreneurs such as the billionaire Fotso Victor,  Sowen,   Kadji to list a few, who own  banks , luxury hotels and businesses  from around the world.  The Bamiléké’s best kept secret is believed to be hard work combined with a strong traditional culture.

“One of the most beautiful places I know is Fetba,”- says Nadine Blanchard, a postgraduate student from Clermont Ferrand.

Dr Raymond-Tchakounté -II-Clermont Ferrand Student in Fetba

Nadine was initially a postgrad CERDI student in Clermont Ferrand, France. She initially flew to Fetba for study purposes, but ended up falling in love with the small village, and has been returning there frequently for holiday ever since.

“In 2008, my project was on Fetba, a case study related to my dissertation on environment and natural resource management in developing and transition economies. My experience was unique and I have been back three times already for holidays.”

An American tourist also commented on Fetba, when asked what brought him to such a tiny village which represents an insignificant pinprick on the world map.

He went on to explain how he once watched a documentary on the French television TV5 Monde entitled  “ Fetba, renaissance d’un village” (in English “Fetba, the rebirth  of a village”).

“I was quite impressed because the film was a real-life documentary about the current Fetba chief, his Majesty Raymond Tchakounté the Second, the 13th traditional chief of the Fetba dynasty, who inherited the throne in 1992 after his father Raymond Tchakounté the first, died. His Majesty Raymond Tchakounté (II) has been trying hard to develop his village, juggling and switching from traditional duties to his modern life: His Majesty Tchakounté  holds a PHD in Economics Sciences from TheMajesty of  Clermond Ferrand CERDI and  is currently  a lecturer  at  the University of Dschang-Cameroon, where he teaches Economic Sciences  and Management.”

His Online fast selling book, now used as a reference in Universities  from around  the world has earned  him congratulations from high profile member of  Cameroon  and Western government.

The book, entitled: “Epargne, tontine, et credit informel en milieu rural Africain” in English:  “Saving, ROSCAs and informal credit in rural Africa” in which the villages of Fetba, Bangangté and Batoufam in West Cameroun are case studies.

Broadly speaking, the book is about the ineffectiveness of conventional banks and MFIs, which play adversely on the decline in rural poverty by suggesting how the informal financial system could paradoxically be an alternative to the formal financial system. The thesis proposes the standardization of formal and informal financial systems in order to achieve a financial balance in the long term in Cameroon follow this link to know more about the book.

http://www.fetba.org/publications/

About Fetba, James Carter said:

“Never in my life I have seen people so genuine, the food tastes succulent and is 100% organic. The impressive landscape is comparable to that of the Amazonian forest, relaxing, peaceful, calming, the weather is cool, not too hot.”

To prepare yourself for an outdoor promenade while on holiday in Fetba you should consider that the monthly minimum temperature is 20 degree Celsius – and the maximum 32 degree Celsius.

The wind speed is 10mph the SW, with 48 per cent humidity. In fact, Fetba is a little unexplored village located in the hills. Unexplored and pure, it is a peaceful place to live: Mother Nature has been so generous to the tiny village, giving it fertile land, more than 55 per cent of it devoted to arable crops. Average precipitation is 60 millimetres or more.

Dr Raymond-Tchakounté -II- Fetba’s natural water coming from the earth

The weather is cool, the wet season (also known as the ‘green season’ – a euphemism for a period of time that allows crop to grow) and produce ranging from coffee and cocoa to banana, palm tree, coconut tree , pineapples, sweet corn, potatoes, sweet potato, fruits and vegetables  of all sorts are plentiful.

Goats, wild chicken, porcupine and wild boar are common elements of the villagers’ diets.  Drinkable natural water coming from the earth is available, and palm wine fresh from the vineyard, with wild chicken available to be freshly roasted on the barbecue alongside all manner of exotic ingredients.

To visitors, the natives seem so genuine that all they expect in  exchange for their hospitality is to have their photographs taken with you. Villagers feel honoured to welcome someone who has come from a faraway country to discover and share their culture.  The beauty of Fetba lies in its picturesque juxtapositions of coconut trees, palm trees, mango trees and banana or lime trees.

Natural and traditional, its unsophisticated houses are made of straw and framed by attractive and impressive landscapes. Its natural music is the trickling of the river behind the house, the  twitter of birdsong waking you up at dawn, and the occasional crash of branches falling down as monkeys chase each other from treetop to treetop.

However, if animals have adaptation and survival strategies to escape the incidence of malaria, and other tropical diseases, this is not always the case for humans – especially Western tourists. We therefore strongly recommend planning before any trip to Fetba.  Protect yourself against malaria and other tropical diseases such as Hepatitis B, Typhoid, Polio, Yellow Fever, Meningitis, Rabies, depending on which area you are exploring.

Following the ABC guide issued by the advisory Committee on Malaria Prevention can be helpful. Make sure your routine vaccinations are up-to-date as well.

Take with you anti- malarial drugs and other medication and information about how to protect yourself from illness and injury while travelling.

According to the Health Information for Travellers to Cameroon, your doctor or health-care provider will always advise you over immunization recommendations related to the country.

Once in Fetba, before eating an unfamiliar traditional meal, always choose and taste a tiny amount  of  it to make sure  your stomach  can adapt to  that  type of food and spices first.

The best plan for the first few days is to stick with some of Fetba’s universal dishes, such as their home-made brown rice with onion and roasted Antelopes or with mushrooms and other vegetables if you are vegetarian. If you do not feel confident with Fetba’s drinkable water you can still take with you a water filter and some purification tablets. This will enable you to drink the sort of water you are used to.

Get some mountain shoes, as West Cameroon in general and Fetba in particular are renowned for their hilly terrain. Also, a decent torch is vital if you will like to venture in the deep forest of Fetba.  Always remember to be accompanied by a villager who knows the forest. There are a lot of animal traps set to catch wild antelope and boar for food.

Also, try to avoid being alone all through the night. It is believed that the spiritual power of the Fetbians’ ancestors have been incarnated into black panthers, wandering about the village to protect its people.

Villagers will always welcome you, share their meal generously and offer you accommodation for little or no charge. Some might even feel offended if you offer them payment. Rather a nice T-shirt, for example, or anything that looks and/or smells western would be much appreciated.

Being so close to nature can prove a relaxing, calming and inspiring experience. From trip to adventure, Fetba will enable you to recharge you batteries, – and if you do your research in advance and prepare thoroughly your trip in to this heart of Africa sub-Saharan, you will appreciate contrast to any number of other ‘luxury breaks’.  Just make sure you keep an eye on Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice on travel and living abroad website before you head off – at:

http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/travel-advice-by-country/sub-saharan-africa/cameroon

 

 

The editor,
Rachel Tcheungna

 

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