Facebook adds to dating risks in Cameroon

By Nakinti Nofuru  |  Dec. 11, 2012 at 5:41 PM
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BUEA, Cameroon (GPI)-- Laura Nkwenti, 22, says she permanently deactivated her facebook account after getting her heart broken while dating on the social networking site. “Whenever I hear the name facebook, my soul weeps,” the gentle and soft-spoken university student says. Nkwenti, a geography student at the University of Buea in southwestern Cameroon, says she became crazy about facebook after a friend got engaged through a facebook relationship. She immediately opened an account and started receiving friendship requests from men who were interested in her. “I found love in the words of the most handsome guy I have ever come across,” she says, moving from the bed where she was sitting to a chair. Nkwenti says he had all the qualities of a man she would have liked to marry. “He was handsome, tall, ebony black, calm in his speech, romantic on [the] phone and rich,” she says. “He works with one of [the] oil companies in Douala. I fell in love, so in love. To speak the truth, I had never been so in love.” She says he used to call her for two-hour phone conversations, despite the expensive cost. They grew so fond of each other in less than one month of meeting on facebook that he proposed to marry her on the phone. They still had not met each other in person. “I was so excited on that day of his proposal, I called my friends and told them about the good news,” she says. “I called my mother and told her about the wonderful news. I went as far as buying drinks for myself and a few friends to celebrate this victory. Little did I know, there is more to it than meets the eye.” Nkwenti says her “baby,” as she fondly called him, made a plan to visit her in Buea, the capital of Cameroon’s Southwest region. She spent money that her parents had sent her to care for herself at school to prepare for his visit. “If was fun,” she says. “I felt continuous warmth running through my soul. We went out, had drinks – soft drinks, I am sure he wanted to keep his sanity for the night – and finally, we retired to my room.” She says he spent one night with her. “We had sex twice without condoms,” Nkwenti says. “He told me we were going to be husband and wife after all. Then, very early in the morning, he left for Douala since he had to go to work by 7 a.m.” Nkwenti says that when he left, her love for him increased. But then, she started wondering why he hadn’t worn a condom. She decided to text him to ask. She says he told her never to call him again. She tried several times to call to apologize, but he laughed at her and told her that their relationship was over. “This story saddens my heart so dearly,” says Nkwenti, who thought they were going to get married. She stopped dating for a while, until one of her friends told her that “to mend a broken heart is to love again.” She met another man on facebook. But this time, she says she decided to take it slowly with him. After about three months of facebook communication, they exchanged numbers. She says he called her at least three times a day, checking in on whether she’d had breakfast, lunch and dinner. “He would even call me to find out whether I need[ed] his help in anything,” she says.

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