This introduction to sago was told by Sawanga Aliau, a former Jabêm schoolteacher and Siboma village leader in his 50s in early December 1976 in Morobe Province, PNG. Listen to the full story here:
Nomba eta kunda na.
The thing known as sago.
Kundu e bani tema, Niu Gini Papua ndi bani matana i-tamu ane,
sago it food one New Guinea Papua their food early it-join taro
Sago is a kind of food, Papua New Guineans’ original food, along with taro,
go ta bani kakapi katalu i-ma i-tamu.
after that food small some it-come it-join
after which some minor foods have come along.
Eta ti-kamba ti-nggo ka bani.
These they-call they-say like food
These they call “food” [or “staples”].
Sese kundu alu ane, e bani matana.
but sago and taro they food early
But sago and taro, they were the original foods.
kundu, ena lau wa kapole, ena wambala tiyamama nomba sesemi,
sago its leaf and stalk its cargo all thing one&same
Sago, its leaf and stalk, all its content is the same,
sese ena bolo luwa,
but its skin two
but its skin is of two types:
tema to luli,
one with thorn
one with thorns,
tema luli mou.
one thorn none
one without thorns.
To luli, ti-kamba ti-nggo kundu bala
with thorn they-call they-say sago bala
With thorns, they call bala sago,
tema, ti-nggo kundu iyawama
one they-say sago iyawama
one, they call iyawama sago,
tema, ti-nggo dawena.
one they-say dawena
one, they call dawena.
Wa kundu luli mou na, ti-kamba te, ti-nggo ka kutawi,
and sago thorn none of they-call one they-say like kutawi
And the sago without thorns, they call one kutawi,
wa te, ti-nggo ka buli
and one they-say like buli
and one, they call buli.
Aluwa-ndi wambala wa golonga nomba sesemi,
two-their cargo and adornment thing one&same
The content and foliage of the two is the same,
Sese, ai ti-ambi (= tembi) ase eta minamaina.
but, them they-take name that various
but they take names that are various.