ForeverMissed
This memorial website was created in memory of our loved one, Thomas and Helen Tata. We will remember them forever.
Posted by Patience Ndi on April 4, 2021
Our Dearest Tom and Helen,
You have meant so much in our lives. It’s only God Almighty who knows about our coming into the world and going back to him. We communicated about your health before your hospitalization but at a certain time this ceased. We could not predict this tragic end was to come. As far back as 1957, the Mike/Tom relationship started in deep love and later Felicia and Helen joined and completed our circle. Those who knew us admired the love that bound us together. Words cannot express our life together. This happy Union was blessed by God as each of us had five children. (Two girls and three boys) what a coincidence! If death was respecting age, we would have gone before you. We cannot imagine how we will leave without you. We love you but God loves you more. Saying goodbye is not for us until we see you again in God’s kingdom to Part no more.
Mike and Felicia FOKAM.
Posted by Patience Ndi on April 3, 2021
My dear sister Ma Helen, I still don’t have the words. It’s hard to believe that both you and Ba Tata are gone in a flash. All you’ve left us with is memories which we must now hold onto. Ma Helen, who is going to be our disciplinarian in the Gwanyama family, our chief and dynamic organiser, our own “Margaret Thatcher”? Who will talk to me about fine wines? One of my lasting memories of you is that of you loading us the younger Gwanyamas into the back of your Toyota pickup (Baschee) and driving us to work on your farm at Bossaa or Mbutu. The wind would be blowing in our faces as you sped through the dusty roads of Bali – It was great fun for us as children.
Another great memory is when I visited you and Ba Nkom Tata in Geneva. In no time you made a delicious pot of equang. We ate, chatted, laughed and made merry as was customary in your presence. I’ll miss your joie de vivre!! You took us around Geneva with our late mother Mamoun Rosaline for sightseeing, complete with commentary. We had a great time together! The memories are too many to recount. I will hold onto and cherish those memories as I struggle to come to terms with your sudden demise. Rest in peace Ma Helen and Ba Nkom Tata. May the angels accompany you home to our Heavenly Father.
Andin Nwana (Ma Helen’s junior sister)
Posted by Stella Fonjoe on April 3, 2021
Words seem inadequate to express the sorrow felt by the sudden and unexpected loss of Ba Tangwa and Ka Lega. 

Ba, a towering figure in the Cameroon government, in Bali, in the church, and on so many other fronts, was very easy-going, and his relaxed nature made everyone feel much at ease around him. He did not let things weigh him down and would laugh through them. That light spirit in him definitely contributed to his ‘toujours jeune’ look.

There was one thing he took seriously though. On a summer day, we thought we had prepared delicacies for him on one of his visits. We sat down for dinner, he looked at the items on the table and asked me, in Mungaka, where the food was. I was shocked and lost. I was later made to understand that foofoo was missing. He was not kidding. We quickly had to ‘lam’ ‘ngung’ before he started eating. 

Ka Lega was an excellent complement and lover to Ba. She was a woman among women, one with a voice, strong but gentle, well educated but humble, fierce but compassionate, very disciplined but loving, a great cook, an animator, loved people, loved life, and failed not to enjoy a drink or two with Ba. As strong women raise strong women, her srength is very visible in her daughters, and her sons knew exactly what to look for as wives.
We are thankful that they were able to spend valuable time with their kids, inlaws, and grandkids, and participated in many of their achievements. 
Ba and Ka Lega did so much for the extended family. Saying goodbye is heartbreaking but may the many loving memories of Them bring peace, comfort, and strength to All. They will never will be forgotten and will always remain in our hearts. 

Rest in Perfect Peace, Ba and Ka Lega. Nagwa Fonjoe
Posted by Patience Ndi on April 2, 2021
TRIBUTES TO BA NKOM TATA THOMAS AND MAMON HELEN LEGA GWANYAMA TATA_

Mamon Helen Lega Tata,your death is a wonderful surprise.Where are you this great, dynamic philanthropist. Why did you pursue your husband to the eternity forgetting that he left you behind with the role of papa and Mama.
You were a kind hearted person who sympathised with the destitute and that is why you ensured health for many in the GTZ Special fund for health, General Hospital Bamenda, Geneva ,Gungong, Worsing and wherever you were.
You were the founder of Fed fed Bamenda Branch.
Thanks for all that they achieved through their charitable works.
Ba Nkom TataThomas take your loving wife to Paradise and may your souls rest in the bossom of the Lord

Niba Nahlela Domatob Rose
Posted by Antonia Ndi on April 2, 2021
I find it hard to write this because it still has not sunk in yet that Ma Helen and Ba Tata are no more. It is made worse by the fact that l cannot see them one last time to say farewell. The reality just has not sunk in yet.

But I have such beautiful memories which will sustain me. Memories of Ba, a simple man with a heart of gold. That twinkle in his eye and big smile was always so welcoming. Memories of the vivacious woman my aunt was. So full of life. Everywhere she entered, she brought in so much life and energy. Not to mention good wine. I still remember spending holidays at her house in station, eating great food and taking trips to Yaoundé to visit my cousins. I recall how terrified we were when she drove down Station Hill with her eyes seemingly closed. We screamed and screamed for our dear lives! She was a tough woman and all through her illness, I kept reassuring myself, she would make it. She was just that tough to me.

So today, I say goodbye. You both lived a rich life. You touched so many people. Your legacy lives on in your wonderful children and grandchildren. We will miss you and remain forever grateful for the times we spent together.

Rest in perfect peace, aunty and uncle.

Antonia Ndi
Posted by Patience Ndi on March 31, 2021
A remark in memory of Mamun Helen Lega Tata who died on March 22, 2021
by Dr. Philip Wagala Gwanyama

Many mourners know about Mamun Helen Lega Tata’s public and international services as a Pharmacist. My remark is limited to a few of my many childhood memories about her.

Mamun Helen was not only a wonderful and loving sister; she was also my teacher and mentor. In about 1971/1972 shortly after successfully completing her Advanced Level studies in the Sciences from the Cameroon College of Arts, Science and Technology (CCAST) Bambili, she spent some time teaching at the Presbyterian School Tikali in Bali Nyonga Cameroon. In addition to her teaching responsibilities of her assigned class, she volunteered to teach evening lessons to the class seven pupils (of which I was a member at the time). These lessons were to help us prepare for the First School Leaving Certificate Examination and the Common Entrance Examination for admissions into the Secondary Schools. During some of these voluntary lessons, she even took time off to discuss world civics on world scientists such as Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin , a Soviet Air Forces pilot and cosmonaut who became the first human to journey into outer space, achieving a major milestone in the Space Race.

Mamun Helen was a great believer that “actions speak louder than words” and was active in many charitable activities. She was very caring and always ready to help. These are values she developed growing up with our Late aunt, Na Ma Robert and her Late Husband (Ba Massa) who were both strict disciplinarians. She volunteered and taught us at Sunday school classes and even invited some of her school mates from Saker Baptist College to come spend Christmas holidays with us and to watch us perform at a Christmas Pageants at the “Mighty Presbyterian Church Tanfongang.” She coached us as we learned and presented memory verses and acted plays. I remember presenting 1 John 4: 7 -12: about our desire to love, beloved and to care about all people – regardless of their background. Her leadership and voluntary services as a mentor to many people of variate background at various tasks, were remarkable and greatly appreciated.

The lives of Mamun Helen and Ba Nkom Dr. Thomas Tata were lives to admire and emulate. They were simple people with great accomplishments. Ba Dr. Tata was the first Specialist in Agricultural Engineering and Management Sciences that I know from Bali Nyonga - Cameroon; and Mamun Helen made history as the first female from Bali Nyonga-Cameroon to specialize as a Pharmacist. Her career ranged from a Pharmacist at Hospitals in Cameroon to one working with International Organizations such as the WHO. One of the many memories I have of them is in the comfort they provided during tragedies in the families – providing wisdom and counselling. They also shared and celebrated with us in times of happiness. I will always be grateful for the loving care they provided to the families.

I am so sorry that I did not get the chance to talk to them and to say a final goodbye; but it is consoling to know that some of our sisters were present with them in their last days. Mamun Helen Tata and Ba Nkom Dr. Thomas Tata will be greatly missed. My condolences to their daughters (Dr. Segmia Tanyifor, and Ma Bamun), their sons (Ni Gabsaga, Ni Keh and Ni Babila).

May the souls of Mamun Helen Tata and Ba Nkom Dr. Thomas Tata Rest in Peace.

Philip Wagala Gwanyama
Professor
Department of Mathematics
Northeastern Illinois University Chicago
Posted by Helen Ndangam on March 31, 2021
To Ma Helen Lega Tata

Weeeh! “Name” as we fondly called ourselves. It is hard for me to believe that you are no more. O death! Where is your sting?

I remember when I hosted Fed-Fed a few years ago, you phoned that you were held up by other duties and will be late. True to your words, you came when you were able, and after greeting members you said “This is my house and this is my mother-in-law”. I felt very honored hearing that from you. You have always played the role of daughter in law to me, and now this wicked death has come and taken you from us. It is very hard to believe that you are gone, and it makes me even more sad that I will not be able to attend your funeral to bid you farewell. Your memories will live in my heart until my turn comes.

Thank you very much for your simplicity, frankness and generosity. I know that you and Ba are resting peacefully in your Maker’s Bosom. I will miss you very much.

Good Night!
Helen L. Ndangam
Posted by Patience Ndi on March 31, 2021
Tribute-The N/W Pharmacist Association & Pharmacist’s Board, Cameroon.

Ma Helen, it was with deep sorrow that we learnt of your passing on to eternity, just few days after the demise of your husband. The sorrow is not only deep but profound, especially given that circumstances did not permit us to visit you on your sick bed.
You were one of our most senior Pharmacist Colleague with a rich and exemplary working career. Your sudden demise is a great loss not only to the North West Pharmacist’s Association where you associated closely, but a great loss to the entire Pharmaceutical Society of Cameroon and the world at large. We pray that your soul will find perfect and everlasting peace as your special reward for the services you rendered to humanity in God’s Vineyard. May the family you have left behind have courage to bear the loss.
       Dr. Joseph Ndim Yuh – On behalf of the North West Pharmacist’s Association/ Pharmacist’s Board of Cameroon.
 
Posted by comfort Ndingwan on March 31, 2021
Tribute to Boh Major Helen Tata
Boh Helen, you went home just for a season and to return to the U.S. Little did l know that you will not return. It's with great dismay that l learnt of your passing away. Boh l want to thank you for your sisterhood, friendship and most of all your generosity. Each time you came to Greensboro, you always cooked and demanded my presence to dine with you and family.
l hoped and prayed for you to make it after l learnt of the passing on of Bakom but things didn't turn out as l wished. The vacuum that the departure of you and Bakom have created will never be filled. We loved you but God loved you more.
However, we know that those we love don't go away.
They walk beside us everyday,
Unseen
Unheard,
But always near,
Still loved,
Still loved and very dear.
May your souls rest in the bossom of the Lord till we shall meet to part no more.
I shall end this tribute with the words of this song by Samuel Webber.
Come ye disconsolate, where'er ye languish,
Come to the mercy seat, fervently kneel.
Here bring your wounded hearts, here tell your anguish.
Earth has no sorrow that heaven can heav'n cannot heal.
Posted by Pamela Ching on March 31, 2021
Although the years we lived and worked in Bamenda were few, sharing a friendship with Helen and Thomas was a highlight. When asked to name the women I admired most in the world, Helen Tata, along with Mercy Tembon, were tops. Thomas and Helen gave so generously, so selflessly of themselves to people and causes. Although we got together only sporadically over the years, just knowing they were somewhere on earth taking care of things, helping those who needed it, fighting for justice...gave me hope. To honor their lives, we will carry on with their spirit albeit with heavy hearts.
Pamela Ching-Bunge and Christoph Bunge
Posted by Patience Ndi on March 31, 2021
  Tribute to Helen from Evelyn Vifansi
Helen, my dear sister from Bali, I woke up on my birthday expecting to have the usual good wishes from you even though you were not quite yourself, but I was devasted when I read “We have lost Helen Tatah.” You were such a loving and caring friend. I will miss the times we shared in person popping champagne and sipping good wine, as well the times we spent virtually sharing the happiness we were deriving from our grandchildren. Farewell, my sister, till we meet to part no more.
               Evelyn Vifansi
Posted by Stella Anyangwe on March 31, 2021
Boh Helen,
I can't bring myself to write anything about you both, but I must if I have to find closure. Your illness was short-lived, and your demise swift. We thank God for that. When you sent me that cryptic Whatsapp message "my husband is no more", I sensed the finality in your words. I begged you to "hang in there for your kids", but I should have known that widowhood wasn't going to be your lot. Like I often joked that you went "from (Pa Gwanyama's) house to (your marital) home", I didn't see you living without your Tom. You were one of the first of our secondary school classmates to get married, and it just seemed like you'd been Mrs Helen Tata all your life. It was "me and Ba" all along, and I know you want to be sure of his delicious food and great wine where he's gone. That has been your lifelong mission. You both lived life to the fullest, be it in Bamenda, Yaounde, Geneva or the USA, and I enjoyed your legendary hospitality and genuine warmth in all of these places. You cherished friends, were generous to a fault, and were dependable to the utmost. You are (can't say 'were'!) my bosom friends, and I'll love you forever. Rest in eternal peace till we meet again.
Posted by Patience Ndi on March 31, 2021
TRIBUTE TO HELEN TATA NEE GWANYAMA FROM EXSSA BAMENDA CHAPTER

Sister Helen Tata nee Gwanyama, the Bamenda Ex Saker Baptist Students Associations’ (EXSSA) Popular Side President, wish you a peaceful sleep with your lovely husband Ba Tata Tom.

Helen Lega Gwanyama, was in the 4th batch of Students admitted into Saker Baptist College Victoria. She entered Saker Baptist College as student #213, in 1964.

Sister Helen was instrumental as the in the start-up of EXSSA Bamenda Chapter, upon her return from studies in Nigeria and is recognized as the founder of the Chapter. She belonged to that chapter all her life.
She was special to the Chapter in many ways including:
Advocate of the voiceless
In a group of over a 100 members, not all could talk during meeting sessions for various reasons but when Sister Helen is in the meeting those voices will be heard through her. She will sit quietly in the middle or back and listen to the comments and silent voices around her and will raise her hand to sound their opinions. Being a Senior Sister and respectable, her hand will always be taken. This earned her the name President of the Popular Side.
She could stand for election for any post in the executive and win because of her popularity. But in her humility she decided to stay as the voice of the voiceless - President of the Popular Side
Outstanding Generosity
Sister Helen was a bearer of Good Gifts either for some or all in the group each time she attended meetings. Her generosity was amazing. She got worried with any form of sadness around her and would do all to contribute in finding a solution for the member. Sister Helen made sure that we tasted of the best brandy, whisky or wine that you could find anywhere in the world. In her travels, she kept space in our box for such rarities and would offer it to us with cheer and a story that brought so much fun and life in the group. We counted ourselves very special and like children, always expectant when she came back from her travels. We benefited from material, financial and moral support numerously from you and we will miss this dearly.
Adviser:
With her wealth of experience, Sister Helen was an adviser to the batches of group executives that lead the group. Personally I got closest to Sister Helen in the past two years as the President of the group. She will call me from abroad and also while in Cameroon to check about the group and to advise me on key issues or contemporary issues about the group. I was so happy to have someone like this who was honest with me in her cautions or praises. Just when I began enjoying this intimacy, you are gone. It was short but sweet and that is the memory I will keep. Thanks Sister.
Commitment:
Sister Helen was committed to her Exssa Bamenda Chapter and to the National Exssa, as well as to her Classmates Forum.
Ba Tom, our Cat (Sakerrette Husband) always stood by you and with you contributed in our many activities and projects, welcomed us in your home and spoilt us. The Lord decided that you both go home at the same time. He is sovereign and we cannot question His ways. We thank Him for your exemplary lives.
Our heartfelt Condolences to the family
Fare ye well Ba and Ma
Mrs Akob nee Ane Jane
EXSSA Bamenda Chapter Presiden
Posted by Patience Ndi on March 30, 2021
Fare Thee Well: Ma Helen and Ba Tata
   Anthony Ndi
 
     Most beloved Mamun Helen and Ba’nkom, Dr. Thomas Tata, or as fondly called by Ma Helen, ‘Ba’. I cannot forever keep escaping the brutal reality that I will never again set eyes on both of you, much less be physically present at your funeral to bid you farewell. It is therefore an eternal debt, one which will have to wait until my own time comes to join you in that glorious land since this is a one-way journey with no return ticket. The most that can happen is for us to hold on to, and continue to cling to the memories you are living behind of the wonderful couple you were. We are further consoled by the fact that you are absolutely in a much better, nay, the best place enjoying a well deserved rest away from this world, where we spend our energies chasing after butterflies and shadows thinking that we are ‘enjoying life’, whereas we are merely candles flickering in the wind waiting to be blown off at any time. You have left behind indelible lessons for the rest of us who care to learn.
In retrospect, both of you, Ma Helen and Ba Tata had the best of both worlds, this, and the hereafter. As it were, you simply glided off from the glee of the dancing floor here on earth, tenderly holding hands together into the bliss of the celestial kingdom with Pa Abraham our father in faith waiting to receive you with cozy embraces. For the rest of us still lingering here on earth our exits may not be so glamorous and predictable, the fear of which looms large day after day.  
The human mind is restless, always looking for causes, reasons, excuses to explain regular phenomena. Through hard work and God’s, abundant grace the Tatas separately and jointly, bagged all the available academic and professional qualifications necessary without a hitch to undertake their earthly assignments. For the golden fleece Ba’nkom Tata went to Egypt, America and Great Britain acquiring the best, right to the doctorate, while Ma Helen explored Nigeria and the USA, for professional credentials that prepared them for top expert positions at home and later, abroad. Ba Tata held all top positions in the civil service and corporations, safe at the ministerial level. All the qualifications, promotions and achievements only amplified their simplicity and social integration with all levels of society without distinction.
Thus, they constituted some of the rarest pearls: two lives with a common heartbeat enjoying, celebrating vibrant health, success, and everything else in abundance, friends, family, children, grandchildren, all of which were bonded in seamless affinity. They were two great characters brought together by divine providence sharing common interests, unbounded love of community, sociocultural, religious, and economic development. Proof of the fact that the good Lord was the author of all their achievements is the fact that he granted them half a century of boundless, love, joy, happiness and sharing in society longer than the lifetime of most people.
The Tatas were an incarnation of love in life and in death. Instead of parting in death they excelled in bonding and taking care of each other until they drew their very last breaths. The good lord who chose them for each other at the nuptial altar ensured that they remained fondly bonded and faithful to each other after half a century of wedded love. It was obvious that neither of them could long survive the passing of the other ‘better half’, so he gracefully withdrew both of them at the same time to receive their eternal rewards.
            The saying that ‘God’s time is the best’ is exemplified in his open-handedness towards the Tatas especially as they lived their lives to the fulleest serving him and interacting with their neighbours; hence we should exult the high ideals for which they lived.  This calls for celebrating the amazing brilliance of these great lives, giving glory to God for the incredible gifts they were to us as, individuals, as friends, relatives, children, grandchildren, and beneficiaries of their benevolence.
                  May their noble souls rest in perfect peace.
Posted by Patience Ndi on March 30, 2021
Mamon Helen and Ba Nkom Tata ;
what a great loss for the whole family. This looks to me like a dream but true to be told. We will never forget what you both have done to the entire family until your passing to eternity. What a big vacuum! May the almighty God be with you through this peaceful journey and for the rest of the family, take everything to the lord in prayers.   

  Ni Dob Gwanyama and family.
Posted by Gab Taji on March 30, 2021
On behalf of Prudence and Joachim Galega....

Yes Ma Helen and Bah Nkom!!!
You have opted, even through your dying, to continue as my mentors. I find divine comfort in your tragic departure.  Why not?
No one, except both of you and our God, understands the depth of the pain in the heart of Joachim and I. Our journey found its roots in 1983, when as a young pupil magistrate you accepted me into home. No, no, into your lives, because we shared all in common.  Our homes were one, in Bamenda, Bali, Tiko, Kumba, Yaounde, Nairobi, Geneva, Swansea, USA and the hotel rooms during our travels all over Africa.  The confidence and trust of true friendship which is rare to come bye.  Our moments of joy: the marriages, the graduations, our service to the community, the promotions were ours. The ecstatic joy, when you flew into Swansea for one day to attend our first daughter’s graduation. We had moments of pain, …. the children, the family, the friends, then ourselves.  Yet we soared!!  What more was there to learn? The complete lessons of life you had taught me in this journey of 38 years. 
I am convinced your mortal passage began here one earth, when after a long while you stopped in our home in Yaounde in November 2020, upon your return. In a renewed and sincere love, at the theatre door, the bedside, you stood determined that Joachim regains his health, and he did!  Yet, when it was your turn, you both became unstoppable!!! My heart bleeds with understanding today. Who am I to stop that which is mortal and has been made pure. What a lesson! 
In faithful obedience I bow, trusting the Lord will give Joachim and I the strength to be of equal mentorship to the children and grandchildren you have left behind.
Ma and Bah
Fare Ye Well, We shall meet again
Prudence and Joachim Galega
Posted by Gab Taji on March 30, 2021
On behalf of NESDA-CA....

EULOGY ON THE SUDDEN DEPARTURE OF DR. TATA THOMAS
Pioneer Board Chairperson of the Network for Environment and Sustainable Development in Central Africa (NESDA-CA)
We are profoundly saddened at the sudden death of Dr TATA Thomas, pioneer Board Chairperson of the Network for Environment and Sustainable Development in Central Africa (NESDA-CA) and one of the founding fathers of the Non Governmental Organization in the year 2000.  What a great loss to the entire Environment Family!!!!
Dr. Tata’s impact on the growth of NESDA CA and the team of young environmentalist he mentored, was of such great significance and has contributed to the national and global efforts in the protection of the environment as nature’s wealth for the wellbeing of people.  Soon after his retirement as Cameroon’s pioneer Secretary General for the defunct Ministry of Environment and Forests, Dr. TATA brought to Cameroon, the vision from the Ivory Coast NESDA CA Regional office.  His rich professional experience as an expert, an administrator and as a father was fully invested in NESDA Ca and the team of young jurists, scientists and researchers he brought together and mentored under the organization, and who today are amongst the finest and renown experts nationally and globally, working in the forefront of protecting the environment.  
I still have fresh memories of the Board meeting of 2010 he presided over. As a young Program Officer for NESDA-CA, I found in him a soft spoken and welcoming administrator with a listening ear to his younger collaborators. What a legacy of leadership!!  In 2020, Dr. Tata, who for health reasons was working from a distance, made known his intentions of reviving NESDA-CA in a letter sent to members of the organization. It is unfortunate he was not able to accomplish his renewed vision for the organization.  Because your legacy lives, we commit to build on the training you provided to move on with your dream in advocating for a healthy environment and its contribution to the wellbeing of the people of Cameroon and the entire Central Africa Region.   Fare Ye Well with your beloved wife!!!
On behalf of NESDA-CA.
Hon. Angeline Ndoh and Dr. DINSI Stanley Chung
Posted by Gab Taji on March 30, 2021
On behalf of Gwanfogbe Fidelis (CMF President Bamenda station)....

Ba Nkom's passing away is a shock to all members of CMF Bamenda Station.We could not believe that you who was with us during our visit to the pastor and family on Thursday Fourth of March will be no more after a forth night.You were full of life,very energetic,charismatic,and manifested a selfless sacrifice to serve God. Ba Nkom was always regular at group meetings.He used to support the group materially, financially and was very kind. You were one of the group's advisers. A very good bible study presenter. l recall that on your last day to the group meeting ,we inspected the new manse,and you proposed to the builders to make some adjustments. You equally suggested that the school field be extended towards the CMF farm.That evening as we we were discussing with the pastor, you supported the idea that the keys of all the church buildings should be kept in the manse. Talking  about plastic cups ,you bought for CMF and they were in the keeping of the social secretary,you suggested that they should be kept in CMF trunk in the church house to be available for use at short notice .On that very day, you suggested that a delegation of CMF members should be sent to visit absentee members to encourage them to be attending group meetings regularly. Ba Nkom you were somebody who wanted to see that CMF Bamenda station should grow. We will always respect your suggestions and instructions God being our helper.Adieu Ba Nkom we missed you and we will live to remember you.May God almighty be merciful to you and grant you eternal rest in his bosom.
Posted by Edith Asaabah Annan on March 30, 2021
Tribute from the Essential Medicines Family in the WHO African Region.

Donatien Bigirimana

I remember Helen Tata as an amazing colleague. She was a strategic thinker, much dedicated and creative. As such, she greatly contributed to the development of the EDM/NPOs. May our Almighty God reserve for her the place she deserves.


Dr Moses Chisale

I joined WHO in 1992 as Essential Medicines Regional Advisor and the only staff in the Medicines Unit. In 1996, instructions were given to develop a tool for training health center level workers in drug management. This was a mammoth task.

I started looking for a consultant who could work with me on this project. In the process, I came across the profile of a certain Mrs. Helen Tata who was doing similar work in Bamenda, Cameroon under a GTZ Project. This was the beginning of my collaboration with Helen and the training manual was published in 2004.

She became a friend and a family friend as I also got to know the husband, Thomas, whose reflections on agriculture in Africa were very insightful. She was later recruited by WHO Geneva and we continued our collaboration under the EDM/NPO Project and other initiatives.

You will be forever missed, Helen, Thomas. Rest in eternal peace.

 

Dr Mamadou NGOM

I knew Helene Tata when I was recruited as an advisor in Senegal in the essential drugs program (EDM NPO) in 2002.

Helene TATA was a great, competent and hard worker a great humanism; wonderful and kind. She was very fond of EDM/NPO and never tired of giving them her indefectible support and had a special affection for them.

She didn't hesitate to take punches for the EDMNPO family. We used to call her Mom EDM/NPO. In fact, she took care of the EDM/NPO; make sure everything is going well; what difficulties encountered; ask regularly for our news and always available to give us any necessary help. Always smiling, she was a real mother to us and her behaviour gave us more strength at work; more determination to move forward.

Its disappearance forever affects us deeply and gives us inexpressible emotions. Mission accomplished on this earth mother Tata Helen. Rest in peace. May God welcome him and her husband to his paradise.

 

Joseph Mwoga

Helen was the first person to call me and also write to me to welcome me to the EDM family in 2006. I remember her for her tireless efforts of not only encouraging us but also guiding us in our work as EDM NPOs. If she heard something unworthy about an EDM NPO, she was the first to be interested, follow up the matter and provide counsel to the concerned colleague. I remember on my first trip to Geneva after being recruited, I was almost dying of hunger because I could not communicate in French and yet it was the language used in all the eating places. So, I spent the entire day without food having traveled overnight. First, Helen was responsible and ensured I was invited to the briefing. Second, she ensured that accommodation was booked in one of the hotels. Remember, one needs a credit card to book accommodation. I didn’t have one.  Third, she ensured that she knew my itinerary and checked with the hotel to see if I had arrived. Remember I had not met her up to this time. It is at this moment that I informed her that I was dying of hunger because I could not communicate in French. She went out of her way and took me to a restaurant and bought me food to eat. So, when we as NPOs called her MAAMA EDM NPOs, it truly resonated well with me.

I can never forget these moments when her actions of love extended to me touched my heart.

May the Almighty God strengthen the family in this very difficult time, and may He rest her soul in eternal rest.

 

Edith Andrews Annan,

 Helen Tata was a colleague, a big sister and a friend all in one to me. I called her Mama Tata and her husband Uncle Thomas, Papa Tata. Helen opened her home in Geneva to my husband and I and we could visit her and lodge in her house anytime we were in Geneva. Papa Tata was there with his quiet and intelligent jokes and very keen on any discussion concerning his passion Agriculture. He had worked with a lot of countries in the African Region on Agriculture and the depth of knowledge in this area around the continent was so obvious.

Helen loved her work in the Pharmaceutical sector and carried this passion to anything she did to support the work we did in countries as National Professional Officers for Essential Medicines (NPO/EDM).  She Tried her best to make work in countries smooth and fulfilling. Even going to the extent of advocacy with the collaborators from the Ministries of Health and other Agencies to make our work visible and appreciated in the country.  Anytime she came on mission in Ghana she will bring chocolate to all the staff that I worked with in the office, the Ministry of Health and sometimes to other people in organizations that we had to visit. She had a big heart for the work and for everybody involved in the work. 

When my daughter completed her studies in the US and was looking for a job Helen came in asking one of her boys to look for a job for her by hook or crook and that is Helen, she will do anything to help anybody she came across with who was in need. She had a very big heart wanting to help in one way or the other.

Helen you will be sorely missed.

May the souls of Mama and Papa Tata rest perfect in peace.
Posted by Ndeh Milton on March 29, 2021
Tribute From the Anointed Singers, P.C Bda Station

Hmmm. Ba & Ma Tata
Up till now, we are really still finding it difficult to believe you've gone on a journey of no return

Well, You might have bowed to death but we know *death has lost its grip on you.*

Your passage unto eternity might not have been soon but it was sooooo SUDDEN and painful.
Daddy, the news of your death was more like a dream to us and while we were still struggling to wake up, BOOM! That of Mummy landed as a sound of the final trumpet.

Ba Tata, you were a simple & soft spoken man, one of the first to come out and declare yourself Patron to our Darling Choir on the day of our Inauguration(24/09/2017) and you've always supported us when ever need arises.

Our dear Sweet Mother, Ma Tata as we fondly called. You were indeed a pillar to us. You gave us food, gifts, money, soap advice etc.. We really can't recall the number of times you texted just to find out how we are faring while you were in the U.S
Mummy, your agile nature was a great inspiration to us. Time without number mum, you reminded, you are still waiting on us in your house which we were planning but little did we know you'll only watch and hear us from heaven. We know Your place beside God is indubitable.

Our Dear Mummy and Daddy, we loved and still love you so much. We are grateful by the exemplary and fulfilled lives you both lived. Its our greatest desire to emulate your footsteps of outstanding good deeds. Your memories will forever remain in our hearts

*We Pray Your Loving Gentle Souls Find Peaceful Rest Beside our Creator*
Adieu Adieu Adieu

*From Your Children, the ANOINTED SINGERS*
Posted by Gab Taji on March 29, 2021
On behalf of The session and Christians of PC Bamenda station...

Tribute to BA Nkom Dr. Tata Thomas and Ma Helen Tata
11.00 Am, 18th of March 2021 was yet another dark day and time for Christians and the life of PC Bamenda Station congregation. A Baobab had fallen, one of the greatest pillars had collapsed and yes! Like a joke in our minds till this moment, Ba Nkom Dr. Tata Thomas transitioned to eternity. The news came barely six days after we got word from Ba’ himself on the CMF platform “dear bros in Christ, sorry to inform you that last Tuesday Mamie and I were tested COVID -19 positive and are quarantined in the regional hospital for the next two weeks. Keep us in your prayers. Ba Tata”. Words of encouragement from your Christian family flooded all the various church forums. Oh! How we prayed fervently hoping for the two of you to join us after two weeks. We called on God and indeed He answered us in his own way. Devastated, dumbfounded, unbelievable, speechless, excruciating could not express the pain in our hearts. Our Elder and chairman emeritus was no more. Hardly could we begin to accept your demise before the cold hands of death snatched from us your beloved wife Ma Helen Tata on Tuesday the 23rd of March. Oh death! Where is thy sting? Your children are in deep pain.
Truly yours was a life of grace. We keep saying this; death is a cliché; death is mundane. Unlike St. Paul, we would not question what death has done. Death is a tool for the realization of God`s grace and your transition was just evidence of a realization of God`s Grace. You both lived a life of grace which is exhibited in your numerous assistance to humanity and the church in particular.
Thanks to Ba Nkom and Ma Tata we can enjoy the luxury of a projection screen in this church today.
Through your grace we could enjoy Christmas in a newly painted church.
Because of your generosity we have a water point at the manse and a pit toilet.
Yes! You were so particular about the maintenance of the road to church and always contributed generously toward that.
Ma! you were instrumental in selecting the design of the pews on which we sit today and sponsored the production of the sample pew which was presented to the session for appreciation while Ba NKom subsequently offered a good number of them to the church.
Ma contributed greatly in the buying of the first phase of the band we enjoy today in our church.
You both would not stop at anything to realize earmarked church projects even if it meant you pre-financing.
Ba Nkom Dr. Tata Thomas, our Chairman emeritus, our Patron and adviser the Christians of P C Bamenda Station are lamenting, your CMF brothers are in despair
Ma Tata Helen, vice president of our development committee for five years, chief patron of almost all the church groups, CWF family mother, the Christians weep for your untimely departure.
The Christians of P C Bamenda Station still look forward to having a balcony which you people spearheaded and lunched with the sum of 5.000.000 CFA therefore approximately shouldering 75 % of the total cost and you both are gone like candles in the wind.
Yours was truly a life of grace. We really do not want to lavish you with routine praises reminiscent of funeral eulogies. If that were the case, we wouldn’t lack them. We can`t even say enough of your grace here; but in short you both were a living testimony of grace itself. You are gone but your grace liveth in the minds of your fellow brothers, sisters, children and the communities you loved and shared, and which in turn loved you so much. Together we shall live to remember your grace which is deeply engraved in our hearts. May your souls rest in the bosom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ .Amen!
The session and Christians of PC Bamenda station
Posted by Patience Ndi on March 29, 2021
*Tribute to Ba Nkom and Ma Helen Tata*

The pain in me for your passing on to glory is difficult to express. You were so dear to me. You took me as a daughter, friend, sister and an in - law. You mentored me and taught me many things about life. Thank you all for the wonderful initiative. May our Saviour bless you abundantly as you journey with him to paradise. Ba, Na RIP
          Ma Zena
Posted by Patience Ndi on March 29, 2021
Tribute to Ma Helen
For 30years you showed me real love. Stood by me, listened to me, spoke for me, counselled me... More like a big sister than a sister in-law. Ma always told me to wipe my tears very fast whenever Ba Tata was approaching our counseling angle wherever we were... A rare treasure indeed. May your loving souls rest in perfect peace.
         Gwanyama Irene Fomukong
Posted by Marie Fongwa on March 29, 2021
Remembering Helen Lega Tata and Dr. Thomas Fofung Tata
By Dr. Marie Ngetiko Fongwa
March 28, 2021

“Bani hya njiti won” – Bali Nyonga people say, that Is how it starts!

Ma Helen, I had started to wonder why you were not responding to my telephone calls or to my text messages over several days.
Then on March 10 at 10:07 pm I received the last text message from you, “we are down with COVID”.
My heart sunk but it is now a common thing to hear!
I immediately sent a prescriptive note on how to ‘fight COVID-19’ at home in addition to Western approaches – steam inhalation of boiled lemon grass, ginger, garlic, lemon/lime fruit and onion.
Prayers, prayers, prayers, many times in tears and on my knees and silence from you end.
Understanding from the voice of my nursing education – conserve energy for disease fight and healing.
I devised a different approach to keeping in touch: taping my prayers in Mungaka and singing all our favorite Mungaka songs from the hymn book and sending to you to share with Ba Nkom Tata. Texting as soon as I get up from bed and before going to bed, quickly set into place.
No response! I worried and cried! Felt helpless but hung to hope and denying that the unthinkable might be near! You, Ma Helen, No! It cannot be!

Then I received the news of your hospitalization in the next two days for breathing difficulty!
My heart sank deeper, my knees knocked, lots of uncontrolled tears became my friend; sadness!
On Sunday March 13th and just before I went into zoom church, you called and I saw you in full hospital gear fight against coronavirus – in hospital bed, mask pulled down, nasal oxygen cannula in place, shrouded in a mask of tiredness; a few words uttered by you and I said it would be okay because our living God is in control all the time; less than a minute video call but you wanted me to see you and you repeated, “Tom is in the tent” (no in room space)! Yes, I saw you and that would be the last live video image of you I hold onto.

I joined the zoom church in tears and could not wait for the prayers of the people time!
My anxiety level was up and I could feel the butterfly feeling in my gut! Fear was all over me!
During the people’s prayer time, I called your name and Ba Nkom and the congregation joined me to say, God, in your mercy! Panic set in as all calls from relatives were of heavy duty.
Idea of moving you to another hospital was scary to me because of low oxygen saturation level!
Telephone call to Ba Nkom Tata was a dead end – no answer!

Oh, I was scared and helpless and it was in place!
It is about Ma Helen; the only one Ma Helen Lega in my little life.
Ma Helen, friend and sister from childhood! I was restless and crying every now then.
Fear was all over me.
On Wednesday, March 16th, I cried almost all day – audio taped the Mungaka prayer to you very early in the morning; at a grocery parking lot, I tearfully audio taped my last song to you – “In the hollow of His hands”. The song says I am safe whatever may betide me in the hollow of His hands!
That Wednesday evening Ma Patience Ndi called me and I kept clearing my throat and she asked me to take a drink of a water; that was when I told her I had been crying almost all day – the image of you wearing that mask in the hospital and the oxygen cannula did something to my soul!
I went to bed only to be woke up by Ma Patience on Thursday, March 18th, morning with a painful cry! I asked if you had passed and she reminded me of my crying the day before and then added that it was time for me to cry as Ba Nkom Tata was no more! 
I could not believe my ears and all the screaming woke up everyone in the house.
I never got the chance to say word to him since I heard you say both of you were down with COVID six days earlier.
He was gone, just like that! What a fast drama!

You, Ma Helen, called me, within the hour of my hearing the news, crying that Ba was gone and you said, “fang ngwen weh a oh” (I am in a bind) and I said “fang ngwen weh bo oh (we are in a bind). Your voice was stronger than it was the week before and hopeful.
But fear had taken over my life and each time I communicated with you, I tried to shield you from my deep fear of the unknown – you were very ill and your beloved husband was no more!

At the zoom church service on March 21, I informed my church that Ba Nkom had passed on but powerful prayer for your healing was requested; later that day, I learned that you had been moved to Mbingo hospital for a much more centered care and that the outlook was hopeful and I joined in the shaky hope. Sunday/Monday night was a very difficult night for me as I tossed in bed almost all night, was still awake by 3:30 a.m. and by 5:30 am I was quite awake but feeling tired, for I had not slept for more than two hours all night!

Ma Alice Lima called and updated me on a possible treatment plan for Tuesday, March 22.
We were hanging on a very thin thread of hope as we ended the conversation and for me to go teach a class and for Ma Alice to join a prayer chain on Ma Helen’s behalf.
In class, I alerted my students that my telephone was on because of possible emergency call from Cameroon and they were understanding.
Low and behold, Ma Alice called in the middle of slide presentation; the students said I should go answer the call and I told them I will instead call her back during break.
In less than five minutes, I noticed another call and this time from Ba Nkehti Vincent Gwanyama. I took permission from the students to end the class half hour earlier!

Life had become unpredictable and the sequence of events were so emotionally charged now!
Within the hour of my ending the class earlier, Ma Alice Lima called back and this time with the saddest news that you, our Mama Helen, has also passed on!
March 22, 2021, a day to remember, when Helen Lega Tata left this world for eternity!
Just four days after your beloved husband who preceded you in death on March 18th!
I am at a lost, weary, and confused about how to continue without you, Ma Helen.
You were so central in all of our lives and I had my special space in your life!

Oh our experiences – Sunday school days when your favorite song was, “Are you ready?” and the each of us will answer, “Yes I am ready” and we clapped our hands in joy and full of hope.

Yes, we had every reason to be happy, as children in our then, simple and lovely village, Bali.
Primary school years were exciting and I will visit you at your grant aunt’s place, Na Sarah Segmia.
Then you were the first to lead the way to Saker Baprist College in 1964.
I and Patience could not wait to join you and we did in 1965 and Alic in 1966.
You were the older one and you set me, Patience, and Alice in place.
We obeyed and followed your footsteps in studying and behavior.
We rarely worked punishment for behavior problems because you were our role model.
Occasionally, you would be taken home by late Ni John Fomuso because your eyes hurt and we will be sad for a few days but happy when you returned and usually with goodies from Ma Elizabeth Fomuso that you will share with us.
Ma Helen, Holidays times during our Saker years were great – you will either go to late Ni Robinson in Tiko or to Late Ni Ruden Akwa and I will come by from my late uncle, Aladji Fritz Dohnyem for a visit. We would spend hours cooking, eating, singing and dancing to record song book tunes.

Our after-Saker Baptist college life concentrated on nuclear family building, further education and career building.
Most of all, our friendship grew stronger and stronger – you represented me and I represented you in so many circumstances until the time of your death.
We visited each other back and forth and in different parts of the world! 
We shared and supplied as needed with no second thought whenever the need arose!
That was an irreplaceable value we cherished – we knew and trusted each other to the depth!
We relied on each other- for our level of trust for each other was firm and solid.
Our lives and homes are marked with evidence of the truth about our relationship.
Our emotional and instrumental support of each other are written in the story of our lives!
We were there for each other at all times in our lives and with amazingly un-doubtful styles.
An example to illustrate our trust-of-each-other life which turned out to be our last encounter in this life is you calling me in late evening on September 9, 2020, to say you arrived Los Angeles and will see me soon. I asked for the airport terminal to come pick you up and you said not to worry because you were in the Uber already. In less than 30 minutes, you were at my front door with a large suitcase full of food and other things you deemed good for all of us.
Ma Helen, we had quality time for two days and that was our last until we meet in eternity. Some of the foods you brought in September, 2020 are still in the freezer but you are no more!

Ma Helen, you were one in town – beautiful inside and outside, represented truth, reliable, generous, grateful, caring, energetic, dynamic and hardworking.
Truth is God and you presented God in your efforts to make the truth stand tall in this world.
Life is a journey; Ma Helen Lega Tata, you walked this life, fulfilled the meaning of what life meant to you joyfully, and it ended on March 22, 2021 for you to go meet with your Maker, God. As long as I remain in this life, I will try to mimic you so you can truly be at peace – I must continue the journey in the best way I can possibly move it.

Ba Nkom Gwankudla, Dr. Thomas Fofung Tata, You had to go and your beloved wife Helen was bound to go with you. What a pair of love birds!
Your wife needed your companion and you were always there – together in Cameroon, Geneva, the United States and now in eternity.
I am at a lost but Ba, having taken your seat with the elders, you know we are all confused for the departure by you and Mamon Helen Lega Tata who was always ready to go with you.
Ba and Mamon, we ask that you intercede with the angels to look down on earth on all the children and grandchildren you left behind.
You both cared for and loved your children and grandchildren and they miss you dearly.
Ba Nkom, thank you again for all the many things you did for and on our behalves while on earth here including you taking my late father, Ba Tita Fongwa to Mbingo hospital for eye surgery.
We will try our best until we too shall meet again and never to part anymore.
May the loving God of compassion receive the both of you and preserve for His lovely purpose in eternity. Rest in perfect peace Ba Nkom Thomas and Mamon Helen Tata.

What is the silent lesson your two deaths from COVID-19 has taught those still here?
COVID-19 was your path to leave this world, no dispute!
We are challenged to look and listen for the silent lesson so that your deaths would not be in vain. Amen and Amen.




Posted by Mary Maimo on March 29, 2021
It is so painful and hard to accept the death of our dear "auntie Helen".. The pain is more excruciating when I remember talking to you three days before you departed and I was so hopeful about things getting better. You were there for me when I was in form one in CPC Bali. I was rushed to the hospital in Bali after developing a big and painful absces on my knee. I was quite scared about being alone in the hospital but you rushed to Bali and transported me immediately to Bamenda where I was successfully operated.. When I joined a strike and marched to Bamenda from Bali, you welcomed me home, drove me back to school despite my wrong doing and gave me the right advice on how to stay out of trouble. I was always proud of my aunt who was known as the Iron lady and respected by all around her.. You were always active, compassionate and very supportive everytime I needed your help. I will hold all the memories deep in my heart.
Ba Nkom Tata always spoke with humility, kept a calm head in every situation and was always ready to teach us more about our Bali cultural heritage.. He was extremely hardworking but despite his busy schedules he still had ways of incorporating us as kids in his working life. He would take us along during some of his business trips. These trips were very interesting adventures in my childhood. This life style was not common at the time when we grew up and I was fascinated by his mindset. I remember this wonderful ride with him to Wum and back to Bamenda where Gab, Keh and myself were mischievous throughout the trip. Despite our mischief during our stay, he protected us and I knew that I could always rely on him for help whenever needed.

Ba Nkom and Auntie Helen, you have left a legacy that will be read through generations, current and to come. You left a mark in our hearts which cannot be erased. It is indelible in our hearts and will continue to guide us throughout our journey on earth.

Francis Lima
Posted by Mary Maimo on March 29, 2021
Na Helen Tata, Fed-Fed Germany joins the entire Nkumu Fed Fed to bid you farewell to your eternal rest. You have gone but the memories of your roll in the formation of Fed Fed Germany will always remain with us. You were a Mother, Mentor and inspirer as you visited us in 2008. You introduced and encouraged us to be part of this noble Association. In your tenure as Fed Fed President General (2016-2019), you nursed us as a Baby-Branch and saw in us the potentials, the growth and the contributions towards the goals of the association. You acknowledged our strength with a gift that will remain as a Symbol of remembrance. You impacted knowledge of selflessness and compassion for those in need which have benefited our own humaness, which has also given the joy to contribute in the wellbeing of others. Na, you achieved your purpose with strength, Courage, determination wisdom and charity. You fought the last battle with all your might but God's purpose had to prevail. When God decides, who are we to reject.

We know you will continue to remain an intercessor and a guardian angel for your Children and Sisters.
We wish you and Ba Nkom a solemn rest in the bossom of the Lord. May the Lord also grant strength to the entire Family through this difficult moment of your sudden departure. FFG will live to remember you. RIP

Emmerencia Asuh-Egbe, President, On behalf of Fed-Fed Germany

Posted by Patience Ndi on March 29, 2021
Weeeeeh Ma Helen! What will become of our beautiful plans of enjoyment in Atlanta GA where our children are? You were supposed to be the driver for our numerous outings.We had very happy moments with You, Ba and the Children. We planned to double those times and add new activities.But Alas! Our plans were written in pencil while God’s plans are in concrete and has over overshadowed ours because HE alone has the final say. May Your Souls rest in perfect peace Amen.
        Ma Liduina Tutuwan.
Posted by Patience Ndi on March 29, 2021
Tribute to Ba Nkom Tata and Kah Helen Tata.
Ba Nkom Tata and kah Helen Tata! It is very difficult yo immagine that we are talking about you in the past! It happened so fast that it is difficult to believe that it has happened. However, God's ways are different from ours and he alone knows why it has happened. All we can say now is that you travel safe and the Lords Angels and FAMILY are waiting to receive you at the gates of heaven. You have accomplished your assignement here. He will take care of the Family you have left behind here at home. Adieu!!!
      Ma Mary and Ni Simon Nchifor.
Posted by Patience Ndi on March 29, 2021
Mummy and DaddyTata.,
is this your Easter gift for the
Congregational Choir P.C.Station?MaTata,you have
been so supportive to us financially,morally and
otherwise as a patroness.We depended so much on you
and suddenly you have dashed our hope in to a
bottom less pit and now we are like orphans.Think of the
good times we had together on the 2nd of February
when we came to condole with you for the lost of your
two brothers. One could least imagine that it was the last
time we were communing together. And today youare
no more. What else have we got to say?We loved you so
much but God's love and decision over your life was
supreme. We only have to thank Him and pray that He
provides a peaceful place for you people in His glory.
Adieu Mum and Dad till we meet never to part again.
Adieu
        President...Sera Asongwo
Posted by Fri Bime on March 29, 2021
Taller than Life

She was tall.
She was strong.
She was energetic.
She was beautiful.

The kind of person,
Who was always there.
She whipped dishes in her kitchen within minutes.
She fed everyone.
She was generous.
She was hard working.

She was lovely.
She bubbled with life and energy.
She had a presence.
She was intelligent.
She was smart and diligent.

Had he been sick,
She would have nursed him to health.
But she had taught him to be dependent.

Without her,
He didn't know what to do
Besides stay at her bedside,
And trust the medical staff.
Watching her, lying helplessly
He was unable to take it.

Without him,
Her light went out.
She simply slipped away
To take care of him
For without her, he could not find his way.

Ma Helen,
Larger than life,
Bowed to a greater call.
And we are left stunned .
And wondering if this dream,
Is real.

Ma, take care of your Romeo
As Ba takes care of his Juliet.

Beatrice Fri Bime
(Former colleague WHO/GF Geneva)

Yaounde, 26th March 2021.

Posted by Langmia Fonjoe on March 28, 2021
On behalf of Fongei Tohnya...

My grandparents did a lot for us while they were alive. I could only wish to do half as much as they did, building relationships and strengthening others as people. If I knew what was going to happen to them, I would have tried to do better at not taking that blessing for granted. Both my grandparents Thomas and Helen Tata may be gone now, but I pray I never forget what they have done and how they impacted our lives.

- Fongei Tohnya
Posted by Langmia Fonjoe on March 28, 2021
On behalf of Lema Tohnya....

Grandma and Grandpa were the best grandparents ever. They made me smile and they made me happy, especially when we played rook. I am sad that I will not be able to play any more amazing games of rook with them. I liked how they would pick us up from school and talk to us about our day. I am sad that Grandma and Grandpa are gone, but I know that they are at peace and in a better place.

                         -Lema Tohnya
Posted by Shelly Regina Che on March 28, 2021
Mamon Helen and Ba Tom Tata, Congratulations and well done.
It takes a while to gather materials to write a book about an exceptional couple I have known for more than half a century. One thing is certain that book will be written if it is the will of God.
In the mean time I want to tell ,Gab, Kehbila, Segmia, Babila.. and Bamun that when people you love become memories, those memories become treasures. I loved and cherished your parents. Now that they have become memories, their memories are my TREASURES.
Posted by Beatrice Tangeh on March 28, 2021


Dear Ma Helen, you and Bah loved each to death. The saying is “till death do us pass”. Another statement that we use without thinking about is “ I will not live without you”. You have proven that statement. Your death came as a shock to us because you were suppose to be living the hospital. But will is not our will

I admired you as a big sister from afar till I joined Nkumu FedFed. Then I started working with you as FedFed Texas president and you as President General of Nkumu FedFed and chair of Health Committee. I remember your hospitality and willingness to assist me whenever I visited. FedFed Texas stands tall with our Mbufung project because of your contribution. The project was started and completed during your presidency. You were selfless in sacrificing your knowledge, talent and resources in fostering the goal of Nkumu FedFed. I learned a lot from you. I still can’t believe you and Bah are gone. Both of you be missed.

Nah Helen Gwanyama Tata and Bah Nkom Gwankudla Tata, Rest In Peace till we meet again.

Ma Bea Tangeh
Posted by Langmia Fonjoe on March 28, 2021
On behalf of Yeluma + Dobgima Tata....

Kah Lega & Grandpa, We want you all to come back. We really miss you. We love you both very much! You all are the best. We love you so, so much! We hope that you will watch over us and protect us.

-Yeluma & Dobgima Tata
Posted by Langmia Fonjoe on March 28, 2021
On behalf of Lega, Lena, and Wagua Tata....

Grandma and Grandpa were the best grandparents we could have asked for. From Grandmas music lessons to her homemade plantain chips and chin chin, she always knew how to put a smile on our faces. Grandpas positivity and guidance could help us through any problems, and the stories they always made time to tell us would always warm our hearts. The time spent with them was not enough, but we keep their spirits in our hearts and are comforted knowing they are still with us, watching over us from Gods kingdom, and we will love and cherish them forever.

- Lega, Lena, and Wagua Tata
Posted by Langmia Fonjoe on March 28, 2021
Ba & Kah Helen were the coolest grandparents! There was never a dull moment with them and I’m so grateful for that. I appreciate all the times Ba would discuss with me for hours. He would advise on ways we could revamp my organizational work in Bali. Other times, he would teach me our rich family history. It’s so sad we never finished the project we started together last July. I hope to complete it in your blessed memory. Kah Helen, I’ll never forget her fun loving & caring nature. Her random calls throughout the years would always take me aback. She always checked on me to see how I was doing, and to let me know how she was doing. She even used to joke sometimes that I was her boyfriend lol. I know you both are in a better place and I hope we’ll meet again soon. Miss & love you both dearly.

- Langmia Fonjoe
Posted by Langmia Fonjoe on March 28, 2021
On behalf of Prof and Dr Mrs Niba...

Tribute to Ba Nkom Thomas and Ma Helen Tata.

Dear Pa and Ma we received the news of your demise as surprisingly as torrential rain on a hot harmattan afternoon. Words cannot express how we feel. We remember vividly how active and engaged you both have been in so many activities that concerned not only us but also in societal issues. For some reason that was charmingly funny and quite touching we all adopted the name ‘family’. We got used to both of you as that real family and today you both are gone like candles in the wind. We have now been born through pain with the silent realisation that God knows why it happened this way. Adieu ‘family’.

Prof and Dr Mrs Niba, UBa
Posted by Langmia Fonjoe on March 28, 2021
On behalf of Sylvie Mba

The light remains
There are some who bring a light so great to the world that even after they are gone,the light remains.You will be forever alive in our hearts.The love and memory of you both, shall never pass.
Posted by Langmia Fonjoe on March 28, 2021
On behalf of CWF Bamenda Station

Tribute to Ma Tata

Oh mummy, why have you done this to cwf Bamenda station. Who is going to type the group roster for free?. Who is going to provide stationaries for us?. Who is going to compensate the exco?, etc. In fact mum , our hearts are bleeding. The vacuum you have created in this group will never be filled. We are missing you already. May you rest in perfect peace Pa Tata and our committed ,simple , sociable,  generous and sweet mummy Helen Tata as you loved to be called. Shalom.

Quinta Asobo , president Cwf Bamenda Station , on behalf of the group.
Posted by Frida Fokum on March 28, 2021
Na Helen and Ba Nkom Dr Tata Fofung Rest in Peace

Na Helen was amongst our first sympathizers who called and also texted messages when our dear son, Nubia transitioned to eternity two years ago.

Ma Frida /Ni Ben
This is Ma Helen Tata. We have you in prayers

Now, the reverse holds

Friends and family of Na Helen and Ba Nkom,
This is Frida/Ni Ben. We have you in prayers

Thank you for those flasks of hot 'fufu' and tasty bitterleaf soup that was loaded with dried fish, beef, 'Kanda', lumps of well seasoned 'egusi' pudding. That was a wonderful welcome to Bali as we were very hungry on that very hot summer day in July 2018. Na Helen also served us iced cold bottled water. That food and even the gesture is engraved in our memory.

How will you be remembered?
Touch lives now for tomorrow is a mystery
Posted by Stella Chungong on March 28, 2021
Mamoun and Uncle Ba, words fail us, words fail the world, as we grapple with the unimaginable. You were an inspiration to us. Ma, the big sister who checked on us, made special dishes for us, even when you were just coming in from a mission or work. You always welcomed us without question, whatever the day, hour or time, foraged until we were fed, and sent us on our way feeling very special. Ba, your humor, your kindness, will always be with us. Through my tears, I am smiling as I remember our Thai girl jokes, which always threw us all into fits of laughter. You both will be sorely missed. You are gone, but will never be forgotten. Stella Chungong.
Posted by Afia F. on March 28, 2021
Tribute to Ma Helen & Ba Nkom Tata


I would like to share a love story that began over ten years ago in Geneva, Switzerland when I first met with Ba Nkom, Dr Tata and Mrs Helen Tata, PharmD, while she worked with WHO.
It was love at first sight and Ma Helen adopted me right away as she did so many who crossed her path. It turns out she had been in Saker with my mum and had so many fun stories to share. She and Ba spontaneously wanted me to improve on my "Bali" saying that a "Palace Grandchild" must speak better Bali than I could at the time." Ba thus insisted on speaking to me in Bali and teaching me some traditions which I knew very little about.

Ma, would call and leave a message or send a text at the end of my tedious work days at the Geneva University Teaching Hospital saying "Afia, please pass by the house on your way from work"...and I would later arrive to meet a feast on the dinner table: Fufu corn and Njama-njama, Kati Kati, Achu etc" There was Ma's special "Muscador" to drink as well as a variety of other drinks.
The happy and fun memories are just too many, Ma. From Geneva, Switzerland to Upstation, Bamenda, Cameroon to Njenka’a, Bali, Cameroon, to Virginia, U.S.A....I am very thankful to you and Ba!

My dear Ma Helen, our very own Kah Lega, I am still in shock and confused since I heard the news of your passing. How come, when you called me yourself from Mbingo hospital on Sunday night to say you were feeling much better? In fact, I was still trying to comprehend the sad news of Ba's passing that you personally shared with me on Thursday afternoon from your hospital bed in Bamenda. You had warned me that Ba was bad off but it did not matter.

You were my second mother, and an adopted Grand-ma, Kah Lega, to Afiola and her little sister, Nina, whom you took care of. I am sad that because of the Covid pandemic last year, you never got to make that 3 months trip to Geneva last year to be with us as we had planned and "make slime" with Afiola. Now, this same Covid pandemic is preventing me from travelling to Bamenda to bid you and Ba a proper farewell in person together with Babila, Gab, Keh, Seg and Bamoun & all other loved ones.

Few people are as loving, kind hearted, caring, maternal, intelligent, soft-spoken, independent and selfless as you were. I thank you for all your love and care, the advice and support over the years.

You and Ba, touched the lives of many in Geneva and around the world. Your Legacy lives on in your children, Grand-children, the Bali community, Fed Fed, the Presbytarian community Bamenda Station, in all who interacted with you e.t.c.

Rest in peace, dear Ma.
Rest in peace, dear Ba.
May your souls and those of all the faithful departed find eternal rest in the Lord, AMEN.

A very thankful adopted daughter, Afia, on behalf of Christian and the girls.

Afiandem Fossung-Wiblishauser, MD
Geneva, Switzerland

Uploaded Picture: Virginia, USA, October 2019


Song: "I thank my God"

Refrain: I thank my God, each time I think of you
and when I pray for U, I pray with joy.

Now there is one thing I am sure of,
He who began His work in you
Will see that it is truely finished
When the day of Jesus comes

Refrain as above.

...sung by your very own Afia.
Posted by Patience Ndi on March 28, 2021
CELEBRATING A WONDERFUL COUPLE
TRIBUTE TO MA HELEN TATA AND BA NKOM TATA
It is hard to believe that this extraordinary couple – Ma and Ba Tata are no longer with us. Their departure has created an unimaginable emptiness in our lives, but they leave behind a rich legacy of cheerfulness, generosity, love and outstanding dedication to family, friends, country, and the world at large.
We’ve known Ma Helen and Ba since our arrival in Bamenda in 1987. She worked closely with Andy in the former GTZ (now GIZ) financed Primary Health Care Project and was our go to person from day one. She took on the responsibility of orienting and onboarding us in the community and introduced us to all the relevant people and social groups. She was not only very generous with her time but also with her resources including harvests from her farm in Bali. We spent a couple of years together and even in our absence, the Tatas continued to represent us in group meetings and took on hosting responsibilities on our behalf. Ma Helen was such a passionate woman and a go-getter. She left no stone unturned in every and any assignment. She managed our affairs at home unreservedly and fearlessly protected our interests every step of the way.
Ma Helen was caring, committed, faithful, and selfless. She will call us habitually irrespective of our locations, to check on how we were doing. She will send packages of plantain chips, njama njama and other foods by post from Atlanta to make sure that we had a share of her harvest. Ma Helen was always present at key family events – college graduations, weddings, and memorial celebrations. Her last visit to Virginia was in October 2019. We had no idea or inclination that would be our last days with her.
We shared so many stories, we traveled and had fun and quality times together in Bamenda, Geneva, Burke Virginia, Ouagadougou, Tbilisi, Shekvetili, Batumi, Middleburg and Atlanta, emptied a couple of bottles of good wine and enjoyed life as she always said. We were planning to meet for our next “Mamons” vacation in May 2021, and even proposed to include the “Bas” this time around but helas it was not to be. God decided otherwise and called them “home” instead.
Although their departure is deeply painful, we give thanks to the Lord, most of all for the life they lived and for the laughter, the joy and happiness we shared. We are grateful for their love, for all the concern they showed us and for always being there for us in good times and bad. We are grateful for all the memories of them that we hold dear. They brought us so much happiness in their kind and loving ways. They considered us not just as friends but as family. They were special! We will miss them dearly, but the extraordinary memories of cheerfulness, generosity, and love will fondly remain with us. May their souls, rest in perfect peace.
             Dr Andy & Mercy Tembon
Posted by Patience Ndi on March 28, 2021
Tribute to Ma Helena Lega Tata.

It is definitely with a heavy heart that I write this tribute to a fallen hero, my darling sister, Helena Lega Tata nee Gwanyama. Ma Helen was born in 1950 and I was born in 1952. Our Late father, James Kanga Mukong Gwanyama loved the name “Helena” so much that he also named me Helena Luma Gwanyama. Ma Helen went to Saker Baptist College in 1964 and I followed in 1965. Before I left Bali, our late father realised that going to the same school with the same initials to our names will create a problem. So he asked me to choose any name I liked. The Ekitis were in Bali at that time and one of their daughter’s name was Patience Ekiti. Oh how I admired her and loved her name. Therefore I quickly told my late father that I’ll like to be called “Patience”. My primary school friends know me as Helena while my Saker friends know me as Patience.

Ma Helen, in our large family setting, has been more than a sister to me. She grew up with her Grand Aunt, Na Ma Robert Segmia; but we used to just call her “Na-ALO” because invariably “Lobot” was easier said in Bali than “Robert” since her first son was called Robert. I visited her at Na-ALO’s place a lot. From January to December for some six years, Ma Helen was the brain of that family, planning everything from farm work to harvesting and storage, the daily menu and of course going to school. So you all can see where Ma Helen got all her energy and planning skills from. We will eat groundnuts during the groundnut season, roasted corn, plantains, foofoo and njamanjama etc. I never came back from Na-ALO’s place without either guavas, plums, garden eggs, cracked mbanga, berries, garri, pears etc. There was always something in that house for visitors. You never visited Na-ALO in a hurry. If you didn’t have about an hour to spare, you better stayed back. Prayer sessions with her never lasted less than 20 minutes. After that, one had to recite some Bible Verses to her, then promised to be a very good girl. Na-ALO was a very strict, clean, organised and busy woman. It was rare to see her sitting around with nothing to do.No wonder Ma Helen picked up those qualities forever; always busy, strict, honest, well organised, very generous and caring. One also never visited Ma Helen in a hurry.

Back at Saker Baptist College, she was such a wonderful and caring sister to Ma Alice Yeba and I. We both went to CCAST Bambili together where our bond grew even stronger. After Bambili, Ma Helen married a “Bush Faller” in the person of Ni Thomas Tata. Of course, Ma Helen became a real financial anchor for most of us in the family. If you didn’t get close to her, it was your fault because those of us who did reaped a lot of pocket money and niceties. Transfers and work separated us a lot but whenever we met, Ma was always so full with gifts for me.

When she and Ba retired, and lived at their Up Station Residence; the place became so homely and nice. A visit to Ma and Ba started off with dining, wining and then a tour of the freezer, kitchen, or garden for what to take back. I never visited Ma and Ba in a hurry. And I always went back with my car filled with vegetables, corn, germinating bitter-leaves or beans etc. Sometimes, I had to go with her to the farm where she had planted cassava, cocoyams, sweet yams, okro etc. When you went with Ma to the farm and came back, the tiredness was much. Ma had so much energy and it wasn’t easy to match up with her.

Ma Helen also used to fire guns at cry dies in Bali. She also helped to tone down how widows were treated in Bali. In most meetings, she stood with those who were weak hence the name “President of the Popular Side” in our EXSAN meeting.
I am not a very active member in our Fed Fed and EXSAN Groups, so I always relied on her to cover me for any “eventualities”. But see what has happened. Ma Helen, you have dealt with me. I know you are looking at me and laughing because you always told me to try to attend meetings.

I am going to miss all those wonderful times we had together. I am going to miss all the advice when I had to make difficult decisions. I will miss the laughs over my cooking and your savior-fair. I am going to miss all the Achu and your excellent coconut rice. I am going to miss the really ocean fresh roasted fish from Douala or Yde. I am going to miss all the roasted plums and plantains. Somehow you and Ba always had sweet fresh palm wine in the fridge. Who knows what both of you have carried with you to heaven to entertain those already there!!!!! Fair ye well. It is Well. You and Ba Nkom have left an unbeatable record. Go to your Reward and Award. The dream is unending but I am going to dance to your happy tunes only.
             Patience Ndi nee Gwanyama.
Posted by Sylvianne Njuabe on March 28, 2021
Ma Tata and Ba Tata, you both adopted me as a daughter. You welcomed me in your family and showed me so much love. As if that was not enough, I presented my junior brother to you Ma and you still embraced him and thanks to you he was able to travel out of this country to a place which you considered as temporary because you never stopped looking for ways for him to cross to a better country. Ma where do I start and where do I end the memories of you and how you impacted my life. The news of your passing away has left me with pain. But one thing is sure that our God is faithful and he will reward you both.
REST IN PEACE my beloved parents.


Posted by Patience Ndi on March 28, 2021
Christy Wakai
I'm dumbfounded and lack words to talk about my family's relationship and the Tatas for many years.
I just pray that Ba and Mamon Tata's Souls should Rest in Perfect Peace. Let their faces continue to shine on their children, family and other loved ones they've left behind.
Posted by Patience Ndi on March 28, 2021
Tribute To Ma Helen Tata And Ba Nkom Tata
Ma Helen Tata and I were contemporaries in CCAST Bambili in the early
seventies but I only came to know her better very many years later, especially
during a period of five years when we both worked as members ( I as president
and she, the Vice President) of the Church Development Committee (CDC)
of the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon Up Station Bamenda Congregation
while the husband, Ba Nkom Tata, was the Chairperson of the Session of the
said Congregation. During that period, I came to appreciate Ma Helen, as a
positively critical, organised, time conscious, hardworking, confident, happy,
every ready to help, friendly, vibrant and benevolent lady, with exemplary
selfless leadership qualities, who was committed at all times in giving the best
of herself for the good of her community, her circle of friends and above all the
Christian Congregation of which we were part. Indeed, some of the
outstanding evidences of the development in that Congregation then and
even now (the Balcony Project) are a testimony of the devoted, philanthropic
and loving nature of the person of Ma Helen Tata, alongside her husband, Ba
Nkom Tata, working in the Vineyard of the Lord.
 The terrible and shocking news of their sudden passing away and in such a
quick succession, into the great beyond, at first, sounded like a dream but now
it is true!!! It is, to say the least, very painful to all of us who knew them. Ma
Helen, in the company of her husband, was a blessing and a source of
encouragement to all who came to know and work with them. We will miss
them for ever but they are not gone from our hearts.
To the entire Tata family, and on behalf of my family, please accept my sincere
condolences on this very sad occasion. May the Comforting Spirit of the Lord,
our God, be permanently with you, at these trying moments; and may the Souls
of the departed Rest in Perfect Peace with the Lord. Amen.
             Prof. Carl MBOFUNG,
Posted by Clarise Kah on March 28, 2021
A TRIBUTE TO BAH NKOM AND NA HELEN TATA.
Yes we live in a world where everyone will reach the end of the road but your passing away is just beyond understanding. Bah Nkom, Dr Tata and mamoon Helen Tata no normal person will accept your death because it came like this big shock confusing everyone..You have been the pillar of this family and after You WHO? I married into your family and You became the ones who always stood up for me in my times of trials and tribulations. Whenever I had a ceremony in Batibo You were the ones who organized and handled everything for me. Bah Nkom I remember the KEY handing ceremony that You organized for me and gave me a key that anytime I want I can come and open any door in your compound and enter without fear or favor. DR Tata u were my mentor in my professional carrier at different levels.. Na Helen Tata, I was in Yaounde when my mother died. You were the very first person to rush there to stabilise everybody and give them food and drinks before I could arrive Batibo. How do you begin to mourn such sweet souls, such divine and God fearing creatures. You were the roof that covered the house , Now the wind has blown off that roof, and Now the house lays bear with all those inside exposed to the rains the winds, disease , thieves etc etc. I feel like my heart will burst with emotions. Sleep in the Lord u two angels.there must be some serious celebration going on in Heaven right now. Let your journey together be smooth. Presented by
BAh Mba Henry ( bah Worekrutih)
Posted by Mary Maimo on March 28, 2021
Ma Helen, you were my mentor, my senior colleague and later on my friend. There just won’t be enough space to write all I have to say here but to say that I will miss you a lot because you went away too fast. I am still in shock how you and Ba just ‘disappeared’ like that! Hmm!
I first met you in 1988 when I spent 6 weeks with you and we toured all health centers in the North West sleeping on all sorts of beds in all sorts of places?- You were a very kind, diligent, strict and extremely professional lady. As Managers of the North West and South West Special Funds for Health respectively, we collaborated a lot professionally . It was always a joy when you either had to come to Buea or me to Bamenda because we managed somehow to make hard work interesting. You were very caring and protective of me throughout and went as far as encouraging me to join you at WHO. Do you remember our Zimbabwe meeting and that horrible guy you didn’t like? You were the mother hen and I blossomed under your loving care. The kids won’t remember me but we did discuss about them all the time. You battled severe ill health 4 years ago, what happened this time?
I sent you a whatsapp message last week
Thursday March 18th 11.45pm “Ma, wetin”
Friday March 19th :6.45 am “Ba is gone for good. I’m still on O2 in hospital
7.02am: “Weh Ma, am so sorry to hear
Friday March 20th: Ma, how are you today
NO REPLY----until the news broke. You had gone to join Ba.
Ma Helen my mentor, my friend, what else can I say? Greet Ba, Rest well, rest from your labours. We shall meet on that beautiful shore one day. I thank God for giving you to us

Dr Belinda Assam
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Recent Tributes
Posted by Patience Ndi on April 4, 2021
Our Dearest Tom and Helen,
You have meant so much in our lives. It’s only God Almighty who knows about our coming into the world and going back to him. We communicated about your health before your hospitalization but at a certain time this ceased. We could not predict this tragic end was to come. As far back as 1957, the Mike/Tom relationship started in deep love and later Felicia and Helen joined and completed our circle. Those who knew us admired the love that bound us together. Words cannot express our life together. This happy Union was blessed by God as each of us had five children. (Two girls and three boys) what a coincidence! If death was respecting age, we would have gone before you. We cannot imagine how we will leave without you. We love you but God loves you more. Saying goodbye is not for us until we see you again in God’s kingdom to Part no more.
Mike and Felicia FOKAM.
Posted by Patience Ndi on April 3, 2021
My dear sister Ma Helen, I still don’t have the words. It’s hard to believe that both you and Ba Tata are gone in a flash. All you’ve left us with is memories which we must now hold onto. Ma Helen, who is going to be our disciplinarian in the Gwanyama family, our chief and dynamic organiser, our own “Margaret Thatcher”? Who will talk to me about fine wines? One of my lasting memories of you is that of you loading us the younger Gwanyamas into the back of your Toyota pickup (Baschee) and driving us to work on your farm at Bossaa or Mbutu. The wind would be blowing in our faces as you sped through the dusty roads of Bali – It was great fun for us as children.
Another great memory is when I visited you and Ba Nkom Tata in Geneva. In no time you made a delicious pot of equang. We ate, chatted, laughed and made merry as was customary in your presence. I’ll miss your joie de vivre!! You took us around Geneva with our late mother Mamoun Rosaline for sightseeing, complete with commentary. We had a great time together! The memories are too many to recount. I will hold onto and cherish those memories as I struggle to come to terms with your sudden demise. Rest in peace Ma Helen and Ba Nkom Tata. May the angels accompany you home to our Heavenly Father.
Andin Nwana (Ma Helen’s junior sister)
Posted by Stella Fonjoe on April 3, 2021
Words seem inadequate to express the sorrow felt by the sudden and unexpected loss of Ba Tangwa and Ka Lega. 

Ba, a towering figure in the Cameroon government, in Bali, in the church, and on so many other fronts, was very easy-going, and his relaxed nature made everyone feel much at ease around him. He did not let things weigh him down and would laugh through them. That light spirit in him definitely contributed to his ‘toujours jeune’ look.

There was one thing he took seriously though. On a summer day, we thought we had prepared delicacies for him on one of his visits. We sat down for dinner, he looked at the items on the table and asked me, in Mungaka, where the food was. I was shocked and lost. I was later made to understand that foofoo was missing. He was not kidding. We quickly had to ‘lam’ ‘ngung’ before he started eating. 

Ka Lega was an excellent complement and lover to Ba. She was a woman among women, one with a voice, strong but gentle, well educated but humble, fierce but compassionate, very disciplined but loving, a great cook, an animator, loved people, loved life, and failed not to enjoy a drink or two with Ba. As strong women raise strong women, her srength is very visible in her daughters, and her sons knew exactly what to look for as wives.
We are thankful that they were able to spend valuable time with their kids, inlaws, and grandkids, and participated in many of their achievements. 
Ba and Ka Lega did so much for the extended family. Saying goodbye is heartbreaking but may the many loving memories of Them bring peace, comfort, and strength to All. They will never will be forgotten and will always remain in our hearts. 

Rest in Perfect Peace, Ba and Ka Lega. Nagwa Fonjoe
Recent stories

Reactions from Nkumu Fed Fed Members

Shared by Patience Ndi on April 6, 2021
I decided to share my tribute with family and friends and these are some of the reactions. 

But first read my Tribute!!!!!
It is definitely with a heavy heart that I write this tribute to a fallen hero, my darling sister, Helena Lega Tata nee Gwanyama. Ma Helen was born in 1950 and I was born in 1952. Our Late father, James Kanga Mukong Gwanyama loved the name “Helena” so much that he also named me Helena Luma Gwanyama. Ma Helen went to Saker Baptist College in 1964 and I followed in 1965. Before I left Bali, our late father realised that going to the same school with the same initials to our names will create a problem. So he asked me to choose any name I liked. The Ekitis were in Bali at that time and one of their daughter’s name was Patience Ekiti. Oh how I admired her and loved her name. Therefore I quickly told my late father that I’ll like to be called “Patience”. My primary school friends know me as Helena while my Saker friends know me as Patience.      

Ma Helen, in our large family setting, has been more than a sister to me. She grew up with her Grand Aunt, Na Ma Robert Segmia; but we used to just call her “Na-ALO” because invariably “Lobot” was easier said in Bali than “Robert” since her first son was called Robert. I visited her at Na-ALO’s place a lot. From January to December for some six years, Ma Helen was the brain of that family, planning everything from farm work to harvesting and storage, the daily menu and of course going to school. So you all can see where Ma Helen got all her energy and planning skills from. We will eat groundnuts during the groundnut season, roasted corn, plantains, foofoo and njamanjama etc. I never came back from Na-ALO’s place without either guavas, plums, garden eggs, cracked mbanga, berries, garri, pears etc. There was always something in that house for visitors. You never visited Na-ALO in a hurry. If you didn’t have about an hour to spare, you better stayed back. Prayer sessions with her never lasted less than 20 minutes. After that, one had to recite some Bible Verses to her, then promised to be a very good girl. Na-ALO was a very strict, clean, organised and busy woman. It was rare to see her sitting around with nothing to do.No wonder Ma Helen picked up those qualities forever; always busy, strict, honest, well organised, very generous and caring. One also never visited Ma Helen in a hurry. 
Back at Saker Baptist College, she was such a wonderful and caring sister to Ma Alice Yeba and I. We both went to CCAST Bambili together where our bond grew even stronger. After Bambili, Ma Helen married a “Bush Faller” in the person of Ni Thomas Tata. Of course, Ma Helen became a real financial anchor for most of us in the family. If you didn’t get close to her, it was your fault because those of us who did reaped a lot of pocket money and niceties. Transfers and work separated us a lot but whenever we met, Ma was always so full with gifts for me. 
 When she and Ba retired, and lived at their Up Station Residence; the place became so homely and nice. A visit to Ma and Ba started off with dining, wining and then a tour of the freezer, kitchen, or garden for what to take back. I never visited Ma and Ba in a hurry. And I always went back with my car filled with vegetables, corn, germinating bitter-leaves or beans etc. Sometimes, I had to go with her to the farm where she had planted cassava, cocoyams, sweet yams, okro etc. When you went with Ma to the farm and came back, the tiredness was much. Ma had so much energy and it wasn’t easy to match up with her.

Ma Helen also used to fire guns at cry dies in Bali. She also helped to tone down how widows were treated in Bali. In most meetings, she stood with those who were weak hence the name “President of the Popular Side” in our EXSAN meeting.

I am not a very active member in our Fed Fed and EXSAN Groups, so I always relied on her to cover me for any “eventualities”. But see what has happened. Ma Helen, you have dealt with me. I know you are looking at me and laughing because you always told me to try to attend meetings.

I am going to miss all those wonderful times we had together. I am going to miss all the advice when I had to make difficult decisions. I will miss the laughs over my cooking and your savior-fair. I am going to miss all the Achu and your excellent coconut rice. I am going to miss the really ocean fresh roasted fish from Douala or Yde. I am going to miss all the roasted plums and plantains. Somehow you and Ba always had sweet fresh palm wine in the fridge. Who knows what both of you have carried with you to heaven to entertain those already there!!!!! Fair ye well. It is Well. You and Ba Nkom have left an unbeatable record. Go to your Reward and Award. The dream is unending but I am going to dance to your happy tunes only.

             Patience Ndi nee Gwanyama.
Here is what one of my Sons, MR John Buh wrote:::Thanks for sharing this deep feelings of yours expressed in  such simple terms.As I read I saw the real life part of the drama on stage for I used to accompany you in some of those visits to ma Helen.All you have said of her is very true and I saw the relationship that existed amongst you .I personally saw her as  the iron lady of the  Gwanyama family. She gave the tone of most events in the compound and she had the respect and support of  the Gwanyama children. She is one of those who had  a very high attachment to the Gwayama name and worked hard to raise many children in the compound to ensure that the flag of the family remained  floating in  the horizon. She was more than a sister to you and you never failed to send me to get her a small guiness to keep her at ease whenever she visited you. we all love her but God choosed her to be the first to see him. We share in the pain  of her disappearance .Ashaii ma, ashaii.
Let me record this in the Story Page. 

Read this tribute written by the Current President of Nkumu Fed Fed-Ma Eunice Tita Tata.

Tribute to Na Helen Lega Tata and Ba Nkom Tata  from Mkumu Fed Fed Ladies

Our tragedy today beats all negative records for never before has Nkumu Fed Fed been visited on several fronts and so flagrantly, hit by a triple tragedy.  The pain in the hearts of Nkumu Fed Fed women rocks the deepest recesses of discomfort and worry. Within one week, Nkumu Fed Fed ladies in their anguish-limp hands will have to bear the mortal remains of three, all high profiled: Na Helen Lega Tata, our Immediate Past President General, Na Anna Dinga, our Adviser and Ba Nkom Tata, our beloved husband and Patron.

Na Helen Lega Tata’s Fed Fed journey started right at the inception of the Bamenda branch. Inspired by Fed Fed Limbe, she contacted a few ladies in Bamenda to brainstorm on getting the organization started in the region. The brainstorming materialized with Na Rose Niba becoming the pioneer president of the branch and Na Helen Tata as the kingpin on humanitarian and developmental issues. Action oriented, each step she took was strategic and her ideas embracing even the national scope. She had a knack for informed identification of needs and the mobilizing ability to galvanize the resources for the goals.

Her medical background naturally inclined her to take steps towards making medical services available to the poor and needy of the community. She particularly addressed the string of women having to trek more than eight kilometres to the nearest district hospital for delivery in the Bali and Batibo neighbourhoods. She addressed the crisis by developing a project in support of two communities Gungong and Wosing to construct community health centres, and using her influence with the North West Special fund for health, was able to mobilize the funds from the then GTZ. It was a welcome move which Nkumu Fed Fed national took up and within only a few months had it completed. This became the pioneer project to have a funding partner and was thus used as the launch pad for the creation of Nkumu Fed Fed in 1996.   It is tribute to her diplomacy and forthrightness that she caused the then Minster of Health, Professor Gottieb Lobe Monekosso, to elevate these community centres to recognized health districts. Her instrumentality in the creation of these centres will continue to bear witness to her person and humanitarian empathy.

Na Tata’s passion in the education of the underprivileged girl child leaves a foundational legacy in the organisation. For she explored the Nkumu Fed Fed educational programme and fished for an indigenous girl from a remote Bororo community in Kopin Fulani to attend school. Jija Buba was that first girl and benefited from the Nkumu Fed Fed scholarship programme, which catered for her education from primary school through college. Nkumu Fed Fed’s care for and the education of the vulnerable and needy people are expansions of that project. Even the betterment of infrastructural and capacity building projects are only further extensions as well.

Fast forward, Na Helen’s centrality in Nkumu Fed Fed activity hibernated when she moved to Geneva for United Nation work imperatives, but upon her return, Fed Fed Bamenda quickly elected her their president. So empowered, she immediately jumpstarted her activities in the health programme area. Centrally, she noted the deteriorating shambles of all the Bali Nyonga district hospital and health units— dilapidating structures, non-functional toilets, old and tired hospital beds and mattresses, the absence of water supplies, etc. These sprung her into action.

Working with the district medical officer of the sub-division, she hatched an operation revamp Bali District Hospital. First, she ensured water supply. Then, using pictures of the saddening conditions of the hospitals she woke up action by presenting these at the Nkumu Fed Fed AGM that held in Washington DC. Because of her awareness raising campaign, many friends, benevolent donors, Nkumu fed fed branches and members came to assist in the renovation of the hospital. Even poor Kutadchi women’s groups were asked to support that initiative. That is how the superb transformation of the hospital came about, with new internal and external toilets, new hospital beds, mattresses and mosquito nets put in place. The virtually defunct hospital started seeing an increase in the number of people in the community who were consulting in there.

Her virtuosity naturally made her the candidate for the association’s National Presidency. As Nkumu Fed Fed National President for three years, she was the inspiration for many projects, including the construction of the foundation of the Gwan multi-purpose skills centre, which today is newly completed and to host and train victims and/or survivors of community crises.

Na Helen Tata had a hard pulse, a fast rhythm on the fast lane. The slow were insufferable to her make up. As a leader, she would walk the talk, expecting others to follow suit. Strength was her key character trait. That strength received its impulse from her home, her husband, Ba Nkom Tata.

The jangling sound of chaos coming home was news of her husband’s (Ba Nkom Tata) passing. It was a jarring jolt for all and certainly radically rattled Na Tata’s state. For this unbearable and sudden horror event happened when she was herself hospitalised in the same hospital. Those who knew the strengthening role both were playing for each other sensed the calamity. Even the not so farsighted had reason to worry, which is why all Nkumu Fed Fed members stormed heaven for her recovery. For a while, hope rose as she generated hope in her communication with many from her sick bed.  Then, like a blast of unexpected thunderbolt, news of her departure smashed the hearts of Nkumu Fed Fed members early morning on Tuesday 23rd March, 2021.

Even though death is considered the inevitable hour, these heaven-storming ladies of Nkumu Fed Fed felt reduced to helpless, inept shock and disappointed that their prayers for Na Tata’s recovery were not answered the way they wanted. From the high place above, Na Tata certainly understands what God’s design was meant to show, while we here continue to mourn with questions of disbelief and confusion occupying our minds.

Na Helen Tata, now you certainly consider the things which, though you did not do or which you could have done better, were initiated for your sisters to help carry out. For, like all human beings, a workaholic like you was bound to be considered flawed by those who could not match your pace, but so beautifully flawed you were, confident and fascinating. It is that confidence that now consoles us that your choices were choices for the best and that that best now surely receives rewards at the hands of our God, fragrant with peace. You made your very deliberate and visible mark as you blazed through earth’s path to eternity. Leaving the scene at the same time with a one time President of Fed Fed Bamenda (Na Anna Dinga) your journey is not lonely, for you are a team, a formidable one. Could you start by interceding for your sisters who miss you so dearly?. You already know their quests; ask God to be with their dreams.
Adieu, Na Helen Lega Tata.
Eunice Tita Tata
For and on behalf Nkumu Fed Fed Ladies

From Ma Mary Augustine
Ma Helen rest in perfect peace We will miss you when we need a friend  Where do I start   is it when we were young in primary schools when our mothers were friends and we grew up loving ourselves or is it in Saker   When I visited Bamenda from London you made sure you sent foods to me on daily basis  At one time you even arrange a special lunch in your house so that I can meet with ma Eunice Tata who had returned from abroad  Who will go to that length except special ones like you Ma Helen your end came so sudden your thoughts unknown but you left a memory we are all proud to know May your soul rest in perfect peace You have showed us the strength of true love  Ba Kom and na Helen God loves you  He will continue to comfort and strengthen the family Adieu

From Ma Agnes Fosang
Na Helen Tata and Ba Nkom Tata  our heroes you will  for ever remain green in our memories. May your  souls RIP+ ADIEU.  Na PG thanks  so much for such a wonderful  Tribute

From Ma Emilia
Na. PG what a wonderful and analytic assessment of an icon. It covers every of her services and engagements to the association and portrays how close you have been and worked with her and the legacy she has left behind.
Indeed Na. PG you said it all.
With this ,we will live to remember her more.
With humble regards.
Ma.Emme.

From Ma Nina Sikod
Na PG
Thank you so kindly for a wonderful and sincere description of a  NFF departed icon, Na Helen and Ba Nkom Tata. My Condolences goes out to the entire family.

From Ma Helen Gwanfogbe
Thanks Na PG for the wonderful tribute it depicts who our Mother and sister really was. An icon to be celebrated.  We thank God and give Him the glory. We continue to pray for the peaceful repose of their souls as they  reunite in God's heavenly kingdom. RIPP.

From Ma Stella Kisob
A tribute like no other. I join you na PG to resound the condolence tribute to Na Helen and her darling Ba Nkom.  Who knew, that "till death do us part , was for real? No not real as this is a "till death do us reunite." Fare the well and like na PG said , continue to intercede for the kids, for your sisters, and for us. Rest in perfect  peace as a fearless couple,  who took the challenge  presented and died without  looking back. Fare the well. Adieu.

From Ma Mary Fang
Oh my dear PG thanks for the marvelous tribute to late Na Helen Tata and the husband on behalf of this noble organization  NFF. You said it all so well . That’s who Na Helen was as you beautifully put it down In the queen,s language. Good job Na PG. They all have gone to continue the good works  with our Maker. RIPP.

From Ma Bea Tangeh
From our Na PG, Na Eunice Tita Tata to our Na PG Emeritus, Na Helen Gwanyama Tata and our Dear Husband, Ba Tata. What a beautiful tribute. 
Thank you Na PG. I don’t know how you could gather your thoughts to write at this trial time in our organization. God put you in this position and he is guiding you too
To all of us morning at this time, the Lord is our strength. Father comfort us now. Provide that Mansion you promised to these LOVE BIRDS. Rest In Peace till we meet again

From Ma Kuna Eunice
Ohhhhhh what a legacy. So many lives have been impacted positively from this project.

From Ma Kuna Eunice
Great ladies, one philosopher once said and l quote " *What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stoned momuments but what is woven in the lives of others*".
Na Helen Tata and Ba, Nkom have played their roles, have we played our roles or we are still going to do so...... *Life is a tale*
Gentle ladies,find  below a Tribute to Na Helen and Ba Nkom from Nkumu Fed Fed

Ma Helen Ndangam
So they are truly gone. OMG! What is this life? May their beautiful souls RIPP. Our thoughts & prayers to their family especially the kid. May the good Lord grant the strength & courage to make through this very difficult & trying time in their life.

From Ma Dorothy Luma Feh
Ba and na Tata give the Lord our God thank for life you lived here on earth. Your good deed will ever remain fresh in our hearts. Rest on saint of of the most high. May the Holy spirit guide and guard your family members especially your children. In the name of Jesus. Adieu Ma Helen Tata  adieu Ba Nkom Tata.

From Ma Ruth Titamuguh
We shall forever miss you Na Helen and Ba Nkom Tata. May your gentle souls rest in perfect peace. Adieu our Icons

(To be continued)













Shared by Patience Ndi on April 1, 2021
I decided to share my tribute with family and friends and these are some of the reactions. 

But first read my Tribute!!!!!
It is definitely with a heavy heart that I write this tribute to a fallen hero, my darling sister, Helena Lega Tata nee Gwanyama. Ma Helen was born in 1950 and I was born in 1952. Our Late father, James Kanga Mukong Gwanyama loved the name “Helena” so much that he also named me Helena Luma Gwanyama. Ma Helen went to Saker Baptist College in 1964 and I followed in 1965. Before I left Bali, our late father realised that going to the same school with the same initials to our names will create a problem. So he asked me to choose any name I liked. The Ekitis were in Bali at that time and one of their daughter’s name was Patience Ekiti. Oh how I admired her and loved her name. Therefore I quickly told my late father that I’ll like to be called “Patience”. My primary school friends know me as Helena while my Saker friends know me as Patience.      

Ma Helen, in our large family setting, has been more than a sister to me. She grew up with her Grand Aunt, Na Ma Robert Segmia; but we used to just call her “Na-ALO” because invariably “Lobot” was easier said in Bali than “Robert” since her first son was called Robert. I visited her at Na-ALO’s place a lot. From January to December for some six years, Ma Helen was the brain of that family, planning everything from farm work to harvesting and storage, the daily menu and of course going to school. So you all can see where Ma Helen got all her energy and planning skills from. We will eat groundnuts during the groundnut season, roasted corn, plantains, foofoo and njamanjama etc. I never came back from Na-ALO’s place without either guavas, plums, garden eggs, cracked mbanga, berries, garri, pears etc. There was always something in that house for visitors. You never visited Na-ALO in a hurry. If you didn’t have about an hour to spare, you better stayed back. Prayer sessions with her never lasted less than 20 minutes. After that, one had to recite some Bible Verses to her, then promised to be a very good girl. Na-ALO was a very strict, clean, organised and busy woman. It was rare to see her sitting around with nothing to do.No wonder Ma Helen picked up those qualities forever; always busy, strict, honest, well organised, very generous and caring. One also never visited Ma Helen in a hurry. 

Back at Saker Baptist College, she was such a wonderful and caring sister to Ma Alice Yeba and I. We both went to CCAST Bambili together where our bond grew even stronger. After Bambili, Ma Helen married a “Bush Faller” in the person of Ni Thomas Tata. Of course, Ma Helen became a real financial anchor for most of us in the family. If you didn’t get close to her, it was your fault because those of us who did reaped a lot of pocket money and niceties. Transfers and work separated us a lot but whenever we met, Ma was always so full with gifts for me. 
 When she and Ba retired, and lived at their Up Station Residence; the place became so homely and nice. A visit to Ma and Ba started off with dining, wining and then a tour of the freezer, kitchen, or garden for what to take back. I never visited Ma and Ba in a hurry. And I always went back with my car filled with vegetables, corn, germinating bitter-leaves or beans etc. Sometimes, I had to go with her to the farm where she had planted cassava, cocoyams, sweet yams, okro etc. When you went with Ma to the farm and came back, the tiredness was much. Ma had so much energy and it wasn’t easy to match up with her.

Ma Helen also used to fire guns at cry dies in Bali. She also helped to tone down how widows were treated in Bali. In most meetings, she stood with those who were weak hence the name “President of the Popular Side” in our EXSAN meeting.

I am not a very active member in our Fed Fed and EXSAN Groups, so I always relied on her to cover me for any “eventualities”. But see what has happened. Ma Helen, you have dealt with me. I know you are looking at me and laughing because you always told me to try to attend meetings.

I am going to miss all those wonderful times we had together. I am going to miss all the advice when I had to make difficult decisions. I will miss the laughs over my cooking and your savior-fair. I am going to miss all the Achu and your excellent coconut rice. I am going to miss the really ocean fresh roasted fish from Douala or Yde. I am going to miss all the roasted plums and plantains. Somehow you and Ba always had sweet fresh palm wine in the fridge. Who knows what both of you have carried with you to heaven to entertain those already there!!!!! Fair ye well. It is Well. You and Ba Nkom have left an unbeatable record. Go to your Reward and Award. The dream is unending but I am going to dance to your happy tunes only.
             Patience Ndi nee Gwanyama.
Here is what one of my Sons, MR John Buh wrote:::Thanks for sharing this deep feelings of yours expressed in  such simple terms.As I read I saw the real life part of the drama on stage for I used to accompany you in some of those visits to ma Helen.All you have said of her is very true and I saw the relationship that existed amongst you .I personally saw her as  the iron lady of the  Gwanyama family. She gave the tone of most events in the compound and she had the respect and support of  the Gwanyam children. She is one of those who had  a very high attachment to the Gwayama name and worked hard to raise many children in the compound to ensure that the flag of the family remained  floating in  the horizon. She was more than a sister to you and you never failed to send me to get her a small guiness to keep her at ease whenever she visited you. we all love her but God choosed her to be the first to see him. We share in the pain  of her disappearance .Ashaii ma, ashaii.