This is from Pinoy SVD Fr. Emil Pati:

“Setswana”, the language spoken in Botswana, is quieted complicated. One day, while visiting people in the fields, I scouted a group of women harvesting sorghum. Very articulately I greeted them, “Dumelang Bomme” (the usual greeting). In chorus they respond “Dumela Rra.”

Admiring the abundant harvest, I exclaimed, “Bomme, mabele a lona a matona thata!”

Their facial expressions and the silence were enough to tell me I was in trouble. I repeated what I said trying to make myself clear. And one of them remarked, “Ah, mabele.”

I said, “ee mma” (yes madam) pointing at the robust sorghum harvested. Then a thunderous laughter broke out. Trying not to embarrass me, the old man that the word “mabele” has two completely different meanings: If your accent is deep, it means sorghum, but if it is high, it means a woman’s breasts. It was clear then that when I spoke the first time, I was in effect saying, “Women, your breasts are enormous!” (The Word in Other Words 2002, June 2)


I welcome contributions! Anecdotes must be funny, true stories of SVD missionaries working in the Philippines or Pinoy SVD missionaries working in any part of the globe. Contributions may be forwarded to





2 thoughts on “SVD JOKES #25: MABELE! MABELE!

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