Bahati, my Nigerian friend, has been trying to convince me that she would make the perfect Mrs. Secretgeek for, oh, several years. One time she told me her nickname, and I remarked that her full name including the nickname was quite long. “If you now marry some German with a double name, like Kleinbauer-Schmittbrunn, you’ll have the longest name ever.”

“No,” she replied immediately, “I rather like the sound of Mrs. Secretgeek.”

Another time she wished me well for my birthday. “Well, Secretgeek,” she added, “You’re a year older now. Don’t you think it’s high time you get married?”

“Not really,” I replied, not quite reading the innuendo correctly. “That’s a young age still.”

“Well if you turn 30 or some day 40 and are still all alone and change your mind, make sure you remember me.”

There were more such incidents. Normally, I would be weary; a Nigerian girl trying to snatch a European? Like that never happened before. But in Bahati’s case, I don’t think she’s after quick money or citizenship. She’s very pretty (and I regret I cannot show you guys a photo of her), very pleasant, and not stupid. If she really wanted either of that, I am sure she could have managed in the many years that she has known me. And before Sand or Rover get sarcastic, yes, she is a real person, and a real woman as well.

Anyway, earlier this year I had an idea. There is a Goethe Institute in Lagos. And courses there are cheap. A quick email to the local franchise here, and I had their agreement that I could pay for a course for someone in Nigeria and they would transfer the money. So I offered Bahati to pay the tuition for a German language course for her, if she wanted to take it, and explained to her what the Goethe institute said.

My reasons for offering the course were two-fold. One reason was that I figured that knowing a foreign language would not hurt her career chances – even if she doesn’t need it immediately. The other reason, of course, was to test her. Would she actually go through with this? If she seriously hoped to try for Mrs Secretgeek status, she would sooner or later need to learn German.

In typical Bahati fashion she immediately agreed, on a condition: “You’ll also have to learn Yoruba then!” Of course, there was a problem: She does not study in Lagos, and hence was out of town most of the time.

Today, she sent me a mail. She dug out old nicknames she had given me, and asked about the contact information for the Goethe institute. It looks like she didn’t forget the offer. I am really wondering if she will do it. And that also makes me wonder if she really will try to visit Europe after her graduation. It would be good to meet her, finally.

Oh – before you wonder – yes, finding a Yoruba teacher here is pretty much impossible.

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