Ifemelu is a week late on rent. She calls the tennis coach in desperation. She tells him she won’t have sex. He promises that he just needs her to let him touch her. Afterward, Ifemelu feels ashamed and blames herself. At home, she finds she has a phone message from Obinze. She cannot bring herself to respond, and deletes both his messages and his emails. She grows listless, skips her classes, and stops calling her parents and Aunty Uju.

Ginika gets in touch with Ifemelu through one of her roommates. She is very worried about Ifemelu but has good news. The babysitter Kimberly hired left, and Kimberly wants to hire Ifemelu. The next day, Ginika drags her to Kimberly’s house.

Ginika tells Ifemelu she has depression, but Ifemelu does not believe her because depression is for Americans.

Summary: Chapter 16

Ifemelu tells herself she will reply to Obinze in a month, but when the time comes, she still feels unable. She stops reading Nigerian news because it reminds her of Obinze.

Ifemelu babysits Kimberly’s children. Kimberly’s daughter Morgan behaves for Ifemelu, which is surprising because Morgan’s surliness drives Don to distraction. One day, Laura tells Ifemelu that she intends to switch from her daughter’s doctor to a Nigerian doctor after reading that Nigerians are the most educated immigrant group. She compares the Nigerian doctor to a Ugandan woman she knew in graduate school, adding that the Ugandan was not like black Americans. Ifemelu suggests that when black Americans still couldn’t vote, the Ugandan’s father could attend Oxford. Laura is offended, and Ifemelu apologizes.

At a party Kimberly and Don throw, guests eagerly regale Ifemelu with stories of the charity work they do in Africa. Their constant talk of charity makes Ifemelu wish she could be amongst the givers instead of the assumed receivers.