A glossary of terms that will be updated often:

amagumba gatya–a greeting, literally how are the bones?

anyhowly–it means exactly what you would think.  sure, it’s not real english, but it definitely does the trick.

babbuli–bible in luganda.  we used the babbuli to sing along to the many songs that include translations of tehillim (zabbuli) into luganda.

boda boda–a motorcycle.  a major mode of transportation in this wonderful country of ours.  whether or not we ever utilized it will remain a secret.

diseases travelers to uganda must be vaccinated against–typhoid, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, polio, malaria, yellow fever, meningitis

diseases travelers to uganda pray not to contract since there are no vaccines-dengue, parasites, giardia, and ones we don’t have names for


entebbe–kampala’s airport, most known for being the site of operation thunderbolt (aka operation entebbe)

groundnuts (aka g. nuts)–so super similar to peanuts.  super good roasted.

jambo–hello in swahili, we heard it most from little kids on the side of the road

jerrycan (sp?)–our version of a shower.

jubilating–celebrating, i.e. what happens in putti on motzei shabbatot.

kale (kah-lei)–fine

kiboko–cane.  like what the prefects/teachers use to hit the students.

kwoizeo (kwoi-zay-oh)–a greeting: how are you

the lonely planet–a bible for travelers


malarone–apparently the best malaria pills there are

mandaz–deep fried pieces of dough; a really yummy cookie.

mangal–the way we described the flavor of our food


mineral water–a euphemism for an alcohol made from millet used for kiddush and havdalah and the like.  it smells like pure alcohol.  we couldn’t even take a sip.

mingle–mix, as in: the way to make millet bread is to take millet flour, cassava flour, hot water and mingle.

mmbwa–a dog, as in: enosh bought an mmbwa that we never forgave for peeing on our aleph bet chart

mozei–title of respect for an elder

myembe–mango.  there are two types we know of–dodo are the big sweet ones, sena–the small ones which are a bit more tangy and our favorites.

mzungu–yelled to every passing white person (i.e. us) from the side of many roads.  usually followed by how are you and lots of giggling.  this is so common that a shirt popular with tourist simply bears the word “mzungu.”  the shirt we thought was more clever was “my name is not mzungu,” since by two weeks in, we started muttering that under our breath quite a bit.

nature valley bars–breakfast, lunch, dinner


oysuke weere–welcome back from the night

poshu–a favorite dish made from maize flour.  to make: take maize flour, hot water, and mingle.

premethrin–stuff we use to spray mosquito nets

PVAO–Putti Village Assistance Organization–learn more here.

sanga–a favorite song/dance

sorghum–a grain

tuleo (too-lee-oh)–response to kwoizeo; good, thanks.

tuna packets–sustenance

ugandan shilling–the currency of uganda.  1 USD=2100USh or so.

wanjii–used in response to someone calling you, either in person or on the phone.  as in: enosh: shira, shira: wanjii?

zabbuli–tehillim.  they have many songs written to tehillim.  you can hear/watch one here.


One response to “Glossary

  1. Pingback: FAQ « Shalom Uganda

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