When Maria Grette first discovered that the 58-year-old Danish man with whom she had fallen in love was actually a 24-year-old Nigerian “419” internet scammer, the 62-year-old Swede was distraught. But soon her feelings changed. “The most terrible thing was not that he had cheated me but that he had lost his innocence,” she said. Even though she lost several thousand euros in the scam, she became consumed with what she describes as “a profound need to make a difference to the people of Nigeria.” After three weeks of not responding to contacts from Johnny, the Nigerian young man, Grette answered a call; Johnny apologized and revealed his true identity. She decided to travel to Nigeria and meet the young man, and they formed an enduring friendship. Over the intervening six years, Grette has arranged for a number of African artists to visit Europe for art exhibitions and conferences, and she has helped them source international grants and other funding to advance their work.

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