Monday, September 26, 2011

The Essential Portuguese Handbook for Moçambique

If you’re planning a visit to Moçambique (which you all should) or just want to have a bit of Portuguese in your back pocket in case of emergencies, this is the cabula (cheatsheet) you want to bring along (plus I've included pictures from recent adventures!):
My first safari!
Sim – Yes
Não- No
Olá – Hello
Bom dia/boa tarde/boa noite – Good morning/good afternoon/good evening
Como está? – How are you?
Estou bem – I’m good
Tudo bem – (both a question and an answer) How is everything?/Everything is fine
Por favor – Please
Obrigado/a – Thank you (changes with gender of speaker)
De nada – Your welcome
Licensa – Pardon me
Desculpa – Excuse me
Como se chama? – What is your name?
Chamo-me _________  - My name is _________

Coming down the mountains to Dombe
Onde está a casa de banho? – Where is the bathroom?
Estou a pedir _______ - I would like _______
Tem agua/refrescos gelados? – Do you can cold water/sodas?
Tem coke light? – Do you have diet Coke?
Quanto? – How much? (you can simply point to something and ask)
Onde está o parragem? – Where is the bus stop?
Tenho fome/sede – I’m hungry/thirsty
Estou com sono – I’m sleepy
Pode ajudar me? – Can you help me?
Estou a vir – I’m on my way (this could mean ‘I am right around the corner’ or ‘I’ll be there in two hours’ and should be taken with a grain of salt)

The river in Dombe

Quero uma Manica grande – I want a big Manica (type of beer)
Quero um meio frango com salada e batatas – I want half a chicken with salad and french fries
Tem piri-piri? – Do you have hot sauce?
Estes vegetais são limpos? Não quero cólera – Are these vegetables clean? I don’t want cholera
Onde posso encontrar chocolate? – Where can I find chocolate?
Há espacio para meu cabrito em baixo da cadera? – Is there room for my goat under the seat?
Por que há uma galinha aqui? – Why is there a chicken here?
Esta galinha é de quem? – Who’s chicken is this?
Não sou muzungu. Chamo-me _________ - I’m not “muzungu” (a dialect term for white person or foreigner). My name is ________
A que hora é o jogo de futbol? – What time is the soccer game?

a bushbuck in Gorongosa National Park

Deixa-me! – Leave me alone!
Barulho! – Quiet down!
Sai! – Leave!
Liga-me! – Call me!
the floodplain in GNP

Obrigado, mas tenho um(a) namorado(a). Não quero um outro. – Thanks but I have a boy/girlfriend. I don’t want another.
Mas precisa um namorado Moçambicano – But you need a Moçambiquen boyfriend
Um é bom para mim – One is good for me
Voce é casado? – Are you married?
Sim, tenho um marido e dois filhos em casa – Yes, I have a husband and two kids at home


And now you are ready to tackle traveling in Moz. Let me know when you've bought your tickets!

P.S. I got a puppy this weekend in case you need more motivation to visit. She's ridiculously adorable.
The puppies! Panda is the lighter one in the middle
with her head on mom's side


  1. "Quero uma Manica grande" I plan to use this one because, yes, we have our tickets and will be using this cabula and seeing Panda before you know it!

  2. OMG, you are too funny! How is it that you write in such a style that I think you are in the room with me?!

    I must confess that reading through this posting helps me miss you a bit less: I can "see where you are", and get some sense that you are safe and happy, even when I have a moment or two of concern.

    I think a “moment or two" is natural; then we visit and I am better!

    Love, Dad