Thursday, September 24, 2009

Baby Wipes

Here is what 90% of people who have been to Africa will say when you tell them you are going to Africa: "baby wipes." They will look very serious when they say this. People who have not been to Africa will ask you if you got all your shots. But seasoned travelers to the dark continent will look at you as if your fly is undone and say "baby wipes" until you nod knowingly.

All of these people know that Bridget and I do not have a baby. So why do we need baby wipes? I refuse to demonstrate my ignorance by asking. But I have some theories:
  • In Africa, you are expected to wipe off other people's babies.
  • Holding a baby wipe in each hand while waving your arms is an internationally-recognized distress signal.
  • Storing fruit in baby wipes keeps it fresh when you have no refrigerator.
  • Baby wipes are accepted as local currency in certain regions.
  • You can make a delicious emergency crêpe by filling a baby wipe with hand sanitizer and malaria pills.


  1. I've been to Africa, and I don't know if I'd have said "baby wipes". But, come to think of it, I am definitely packing a ton, next time I go.

  2. It's for when you get diarrhea...toilet paper, especially rough toilet paper will feel like sandpaper, water may be unavailable or inconvenient to use, and then the soft touch of baby wipes will soothe...


  3. also places where there is NO toilet at all. once at a market in ghana, i asked a waiter at a chop bar (sorta fast food stop) if i could use their toilet, he pointed to a wooden door. i opened it up and there was nothing but a hole in the ground...

  4. now that you have arrived in Nirvana, uh...Isinya; if it has been clear and dry - now then perhaps you know why 'baby wipes'

  5. i still carry them with me and I left china last october.