Mandem (Water Lily)

Women and girls in Gunbalanya used to go down to the billabong, wade into the water and gather mandem (water lily roots), manbardmo (water lily stems and flowers) and barrdjungka (water lily seeds). Then they would go up the hill and gather firewood. They would cook the roots and seeds in the ashes or coals of the fire, share them around and eat them. We eat the seeds raw or cooked, but the stems are eaten raw.
Water Lilies (Nymphaea sp.) are found in bodies of water all through Western Arnhem Land. The seed heads form when the flowers fall under the water, and are also food for magpie geese and whistle ducks. The seeds are ripe in Yekke, the cool season around May-June.

Korroko bu kondah Kunbarllanjnja kunred morlehmorlenj (daluk) dja yawkyawk birrirey kore manlabbarlkimuk birridjuhme birrimangi mandem barrdjungka dja manbardmo wanjh birriyibidbuni karrkad birrirerrngmangi kunrerrng birriworrhmi wanjh birrikinjeyi kore kuwilk dja yika kore kuyirrke wanjh ngandiwoni ngarringuni. Mandu barrdjungka makka ngarrignun mankuk yika mandjoleng.

(Text: Andrew Manakgu)