Tribal Wives
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Tribal Wives

Ratings: 7.63/10 from 54 users.

Tribal WivesSix British women swap their everyday lives for life as tribal wives in some of the most remote communities on earth. Like many women today juggling career, home and family, they feel that something is missing. By spending time in societies where female roles are very different, they hope to find answers that could change their lives.

Kuna/Panama. The Kuna Indians are a deeply spiritual people who live on a stunning scattering of coral islands off the coast of Panama. A monogamous tribe with tight-knit families, they are a deeply spiritual people who believe that their homes and families are protected by ever-present spirits.

Waorani/Ecuador. 46-year-old Karen Morris-Lanz stays with the Waorani, one of the world's most isolated tribes, deep in the Ecuadorian Amazon jungle. Once known as the savages, they have a fearsome reputation. But behind this formidable facade is a way of life unchanged for centuries.

Afar/Ethiopia. The Afar are one of Ethiopia's most fiercely independent tribes, nomadic cattle and camel herders with a tough reputation, carrying guns to protect their herds from rival clans and wild animals.

Himba/Namibia. The Himba are a semi-nomadic tribe of pastoralists who live on the harsh sun-baked plains of northern Namibia. The women are striking, covering their hair and bodies in red ochre.

Maasai/Tanzaniai. The Maasai are one of the world's most famous and largest tribes in Africa. They are polygamous, with men allowed to have up to ten wives, and women expected to marry and bear children from the age of 14.

Mentawai/Indonesia. The Mentawai live deep in the jungle on a remote island off the coast of Indonesia - a monogamous tribe where women are tattooed and sharpen their teeth. Their lives are dominated by the spirit world and male sikerei, or witch doctors, watch over the village.

Yoruk/Turkey. Twenty-three-year-old Charlie Brades from Hampshire joins the Yoruk, a tribe of nomads who live in the remote mountains of southern Turkey. Charlie is fiercely independent but her life has been far from carefree.

Babongo/Gabon. Linda Plover from Liverpool is going to live as a Tribal Wife with the Babongo in southern Gabon. Linda is haunted by memories of a poverty-stricken childhood and feels an overwhelming sense of bitterness towards her mother.

Raramuri/Mexico. 40-year-old Michelle Frost from London is travelling to northern Mexico to stay with the Rarámuri, an ancient tribe who live perched on the edge of the spectacular Copper Canyon.

Kitava/Papua New Guinea. Becky Camilleri, a PA from London's East End, travels to the idyllic island of Kitava, off the east coast of Papua New Guinea. Becky is successful, talented and beautiful but unlucky in love.

Karen/Thailand. Jackie Davis from Bristol spends some time with the Karen, Thailand's largest hill tribe. Jackie is divorced, with two young children, and grappling with life as a single parent.

Hamar/Ethiopia. Anna De Vere from London is going to stay with the Hamar in southern Ethiopia. Anna has a comfortable life in London, living with her partner and running her own business, but deep down she has a feeling that something is lacking.

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76 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Emily

    I have been searching everywhere to buy both seasons of tribal wives. Region code not an issue for me. Please someone tell me where/how to purchase?

  2. Deneicy

    Enjoyed the first season. You can view many episodes on youtube

  3. De Neice Kenehan

    I saw the one set in the Ecuadoran Amazon rain forest recently on LINK TV and it was INCREDIBLE. Simple production with a highly entertaining STORY and POWERFUL MESSAGE. Want to share it with friends.

  4. Timmy Poo

    This is life after our society crashes .

    1. Peter Jones

      before our society was built

  5. Chassia Chomsky Porat

    How can I watch the full episodes of tribal wives? I am particularly interested in the first episode of season 1 Sass Willis at the Kuna tribe in Panama?

  6. sylviakenl

    Purely by chance I turned the TV on to find a program set in what looked like, somewhere in the Pacific, it was called 'Tribal Wives'. It had been running for a short while so I didn't see the beginning. At first I thought this young woman would make a hash of it, I was wrong.
    Many years ago I spent almost 2 years working in PNG. The last 11 months I worked & lived very close with the Tolai people of Rabaul. I had a friend from Kurategete village called Emil Tavauta, we were like brothers. Every spare moment, weekends & holidays, I would spend with Emil, his family and extended family & friends in the village. So I know what it is like to live in a village such as the one that Becky lived in. I knew the problems she would encounter before she did, it is a hard life and one of the truest things she said was, "It's not paradise". It's only a paradise when you stay a week or two and then leave for home. I experienced illnes among the children, some probably got it from me, they are very susceptible to colds. One of Emil's children, Tatabu, had a terrible fever so I took him & his dad to the hospital. What I thought was malaria, turned out to be measles, very deadly amongst indiginous peoples. He survived it quite well. Like Becky, I too was accepted into the village as a member of the family. They wanted to give me some land, help me build a house & garden, all I had to do was choose a wife.
    My work had other plans for me as eventually I was transfered to West New Britain & when I got sick with malaria and was suffering from malnutrition, I left & went home. Many years later I returned, with my wife and 3 children, a son about 10yrs old & twin girls aged 8. We stayed with the family of Emil for three weeks through Christmas 1988. It was hard on my wife but the kids revelled in it. Sadly, Emil had died some years before & my visit to him was at his graveside.
    When we left to go back home, the departure was very hard for all of us. Seeing Becky take leave of the family who adopted her on Kitava, with so much sorrow from all, brought tears to my eyes remembering the family I left behind. And as they said on the show, "It's like there has been a death in the family".
    I loved this program, it was handled very well, and I admire the way in which Becky handled herself, considering she had been thrown into the deep end. I like to think that the experience HAS changed her outlook on life, hopefully for the better. She left them gifting her love and remembrance, mainly because I think, it's very difficult to know what you can give people that seem to have everything. There is one thing she could give them, if she wants to give something lasting and will definitely have them remember her.
    A bell for their church. It doesn't have to be very big.
    Ken Lyneham

    1. Francis

      Great feedback Ken. Happy that you have witnessed first hand the PNG life like Becky. For you it would have been stronger because of the time you spent and your close ties with your late friend Emil. Your return to visit with your family is a proof of your understanding and friendship. I hope Becky takes the experience well. Thank you and God Bless.

      Thank you BBC for a wonderful series.

  7. Katherine Laflamme

    Hard work or not, what bothers me the most about some cultures is how the women are thrown all the responsibilities. Not only that, can't even enjoy the few things being a woman would provide them if nobody chose to remove some of their parts as little girls.

    I've stopped the show halfway through. A lot of people have harder lives than us poor mixed up/confused/stressed/depressed 1st world societies. Hard work has nothing to do with happiness. What makes me less happy, is knowing how males are being pigs and getting away with it across the world. So I'll put my head back in the sand and try and remember to never set foot over there for as long as I have breasts, or labia.

    1. De Neice Kenehan

      You didn't see the episode where the MAN caught and burned the deadly poisonous spider in the British woman's backpack...then spent a very long day moving quickly thru the rain forest on a hunt for wild boars, so the tribe had food.The women planted root vegetables, raised the children, made clothing and cooked. There was impressive family and tribal harmony, certainly more than in more so-called "civilized" cultures.

    2. truthteller

      people always seem to forget what men do lol

  8. Laura Tew

    I've really enjoyed watching these episodes. I would love to hear how the women fared AFTER their visit; to know how their healing affected their daily lives back in their own environments. Thank you for a great 'reality' show!

  9. Odette Nightsky

    I have been really enjoying watching this and seeing how each woman heals her deep wound by living with the families. Really good and the women picked are not too precious and real. Great stuff!! Come to Australia, grab me and take me somewhere!....but I refuse to eat balls or eyes! LOL

  10. sknb

    As someone who studied Anthropology and has a strong desire to leave this American culture I wish I could experience what these women went through. I am so tired of hating myself due to (as the great Peruvian- American rapper Immortal Technique puts it) "The anorexic celebrity driven financial fantasy fiction"

    Every time I travel to another place I am grateful for what I have. ..... yet this culture feels oppressive and harmful, toxic and cold... in innumerable ways...I know I can't be alone in feeling like this.....

    1. Guest

      What one finds while backpacking for long periods of time (where one is able to disconnect from a past reality) is the best of oneself, no matter what country one comes from.
      Even in the hardship of third world countries the surrounding seem to reflect a better self, a happier self, a more humane self, a connecting self, an open self to all others.
      I write from my experience.

    2. Daemon Raimy

      Awesome description: "The anorexic celebrity driven financial fantasy fiction"
      I want to remind you that you don't have to choose between extremes. you can leave the american culture without going to a primitive tribe, you can go to Europe, south Europe, or the middle east, where culture is much warmer yet you don't live in poverty and have to do physical labor every day.

    3. M Reed

      What is the definition of "poverty"? That is an English word that was created from the monetary system.

    4. Yusiley S

      In some ways, I agree, but in others I don't. Sorry, but as a female I wouldn't want to be forced into marrying some dude who I have no idea how he is and be forced into baring kids as a young teen... also share him with ten other women (*beep*ing gross! No wonder they get diseases and infections in those parts of the world). No thank you. You go ahead and deal with these chauvinistic cultures and societies. I'll stick to my equal cultures and societies... where I could deny marriage and not forced into a lifestyle because someone told me that it's tradition (tradition my *beep*).

      BTW, no one is forcing you to live the "American" culture...Seriously you study Anthropology and use the term America...throwing it around as if that is the word for United States. *shakes head* You should know better than that. America includes the countries in South America (which have diverse cultures; including tribal ones) and the cities/ provenances of Mexico and Canada... lets also not forget that the Caribbean islands are too the Americas. You mean the "U.S." culture. Anyways I think I prefer to live in the U.S. culture where I voice my opinions, regardless of my sex and gender, live my life to which I want to, and not forced into doing something because of ridiculous ideals of traditions. Sorry but I have more freedom, as a woman, living in the U.S. culture than I do living in any of these tribal communities.

    5. ranii02

      calm down, she wasn't be precise and you dont need to be so technical. everywhere else, lets say europe, they refer to the states as "america". north americans know the difference, but elsewhere they dont really care. and who said shes opting for an oppressive, forced marriage culture?

      you should also know that within your country, you have Mormon and other types of polygamy..and incest within your amazing borders.

      and western culture isnt as "equal" as you're perceiving it to be. women are still refered to as sex objects, ended up getting paid less to their male counterparts and still experience prejudice. the difference is we have more rights and power to do what we wish. and you just watch 3 episodes about tribes now you think you know everything about them? thinking they are all chauvinists?

      every culture is different. has its pros and cons. but think the U.S culture is so much better than the word. think twice next time..thank you.

    6. Erin

      I grew up Mormon (LDS) and there is not polygamy, hasn't been since 1890. Anyone who would practice it if they were LDS would be excommunicated. That would be the very frowned upon sect known as FLDS that still practices it. Please don't confuse the two.

    7. ranii02

      oh yeah, and i forgot to add. "Those parts" of the world get MORE diseases and infections? now i definitely think you dont know what you are talking about. may i remind you of the diseases that the europeans brought when they came to north america? the small pox blankets they gave to the natives? or Tuskegee syphilis experiment where americans injected their own people with a disease?
      do your "beep"ing research.

    8. Angela Brown-Bessau

      You are not alone Sister...many feel this. Its why I left as well...escape the bottle you'll never be the same

  11. Pierotte Pepe Vassau

    Ya mean I cant kick man ass if I lived there???

  12. Steven Susaña

    I love this. I teared up a bit :')

  13. Jerrica Letty Thomas

    i love how they include their whole emotional background :)

  14. Terry Beaton

    Lana is such a sweet and open person that I feel like I know her well from the doc. I hope her life is turning out wonderful.

  15. zaphodity

    Top marks for her having the guts to leave her comfort zone and rough it for awhile.

  16. Greg_Mc

    I unsubscribed to this page but I still keep getting Disqus emails for this doc and when I come to this page the most recent comment is 5 days old lol. Don't know if it is the site or my pc doing it's usual screwing up

  17. Barry Namaka

    fanatastic! great inssight into women's worlds in different places, i enjoy the differences but also trying to see the immense similiarties. we all need to learn about eachother in this way.

  18. Serhend Sirkecioglu

    much better than those Real House Wives of "insert US city"(i'm assuming the UK has no equivlent, lucky you) where a bunch of high society trophy and ladder ladies gossip and fight like highschool girls.

    1. Guest

      We don't have the equivalent because we get to watch the same!

  19. adilrye

    Very interesting. I do like the "ethnographic" tribal life shows anyway, but I do like how the role of women in these societies isn't just a foot note, but the focus of the show. It's pretty refreshing. And of course, good old fashioned melodrama for the entertainment value. But overall, it's a subject that never stops being fascinating, done in a different perspective. So, I enjoyed it.

  20. Guest

    Lovely, wish it was me.

  21. Jamie Salley

    Best doc I've seen for a while (since I've watched a billion docs in the last year)! Trying to find the rest of the videos.

  22. Octium

    I can only see one video here. Wives of Afar

    Link to the other two?

    Thank you

  23. Brittany Bowers

    I found most of the episodes from season 1 and 2 on veehd for anyone that can watch it there :)

  24. q_bit

    Good thing I watched them all when I did (they were addictive). But it's sad I'll only be able to show my sisters these 3. And unfortunately they are far from the best episodes.

    1. Epicurus

      dont worry i will be looking for more.

  25. Sistar & Friend

    Women connecting from diffrent worlds. We women can always do this, it's in our DNA! The Strength of Feminity.....

    1. q_bit

      Hey guys can do it too you know.

  26. Draw Vinette

    Thank you for the three episodes. They were great!

  27. Epicurus

    lol and i cant even find a torrent. damn it all!

  28. Russell Rabe

    this doc is great..

  29. itshotinhere

    Thank you for bringing back 3 =) I hope you can track down the rest...

    I didn't much care for Becky in the Kitava episode, but the ending made me cry. It is amazing how much the people in the tribes allow a person into their homes and hearts so fully. I was so sad for them when they were all crying.

  30. aponia

    Roughly said - there is only two main goals of human life we can conceive as per today.

    1. Preserving and breeding DNA and thus contribute to human evolution (make children and hope the legacy will mix and do well in coming generations). 2. Contribute to human coming existence through contributing with knowledge or inventions that support the human species in the future.

    Either way - both contribute to human survival under certain given conditions but not always. The only ones not doing either of these two alternatives on the earth today are the ones without the capacity to do it - most often that is not the natural first hand choice.

    Very romantic - aint it?

  31. Draw Vinette

    Very unfortunate that this show is no longer available. I watched the first episode and the story was so touching! What a wonderful warm loving people! I am eager to visit them myself now!

    With luck this very special series can be brought back.

  32. itshotinhere

    :( :( :( I watched a couple of these yesterday and now the rest are gone! These are so good. Will they be available again later?

  33. Epicurus

    the user who posted these videos has had his youtube account closed. NOOOOOOOOO!!!!

    i knew i should have downloaded them all. damn it all to hell.

    1. Vlatko

      I've managed to bring back only three of the episodes.

    2. Guest

      Hurrah :) 3 is better than 0

  34. Sieben Stern

    the woman Becky who went to the Kitava island - it's not her trust issues that screws up her relationships. She needs to know what the phrase 'high maintenance' means. It takes a rare, special kind of man to put up with that bs ^^

  35. William Coleman

    The alcoholic b**** who would not stop crying was kinda hot and she shows off her tits like 5 times.

    1. Guest

      Tribal people show their tits (as you say) all the time just like all the fat beer drinking guys on our beaches.
      You need to widden your view mister, get a ticket, nothing like traveling to fill the distance between your two ears or between your two heads.

    2. aponia

      Word Azilda

    3. sstorms

      How did you even come across this website?

    4. Epicurus

      huhuhuhuhuhuh so coooool maaannnnnn, derp

    5. aponia

      well...she is braver and more mature than you ever will be it seems

  36. Epicurus

    excellent find Vlatko. I love this series as well as the Going Tribal one with Bruce Perry.

    I hope when im done my anthropology degree i can go and live with a tribe somewhere and study their culture.

    1. Sieben Stern

      you'll have to make a video we all can see ^^

    2. Epicurus

      will do. i hope i can go somewhere either in South America or Papua New Guinea.

      I dont know if i could handle the Kaluli tribe though. they seem to put too much emphasis on semen and the ingestion of

    3. Sieben Stern

      can't say i knew that XD
      it might make your video more popular?

    4. Guest

      I have been thinking for a few years now, how i would like to immerse myself with the Himba people of Namibia. Would love to see that country, it has been suggested to me many times by people who have traveled all over Africa.

      "Several researchers studied the Himba color perception.The Himba use four color names: Zuzu stands for dark shades of blue, red, green and purple; Vapa is white and some shades of yellow; Buru is some shades of green and blue; and Dambu is some other shades of green, red and brown.The Himba color judgment is deeply affected by this classification. They find it difficult or even impossible to distinguish between colors that go under the same name in their system, while differentiating easily and immediately between close shades of color that they categorize under different names. This fascinating phenomenon is often said to demonstrate the deep effect language has over the perception of reality. So far the research does not rule out a genetic basis." wiki says it better than i would have.

      As an artist, i find this fascinating.

    5. StillRV

      I have mentioned this before on other docs. But your example of the Himba people intrigues me. Color is only defined as its self. Meaning when we are raised we are taught blue is blue red is red etc. Having no ability to actually percieve color through eyes other than our own we can never know if what we see is the same. I perhaps see red where you see blue and we bothe call it blue because no other descriptor can pin point the color. It would appear that your Himba tribe is the precise example that prooves a theory.

  37. Tia Holiday

    Well the comments below are quite mean....
    Amazing show...I feel like I connected with the women's stories. Made me think about a lot of things, I've been struggling with. Thank you for posting it!
    Guess everyone who's commented are fortunate to have perfect lives, must be nice...

    1. Sieben Stern

      i'm enjoying this series too! not too keen on that alot of it breaks down to the desire of over simplified gender roles 'i need a man need kids' etc.

      But how many people get a chance to live another life? Even for just a month.

    2. Greg_Mc

      @ Tia
      I havent seen the doc yet, I like to read some of the comments before I watch a doc. If everyone says it isn't very good I will take that into consideration and probably not watch it, not that I rely on others opinions to decide what I do but it comes in handy for doc's so I don't waste time. Until your comment most of them werent very positive in the context of whether the doc is worth watching (because of time constraints I tend to be a little picky about which ones I watch) but you wrote that you connected with it and best of all, for me anyway, was that you said it made you think about a lot of things. Because I am a male you and I will obviously view the doc a little differently but because of your comments (and their ambiguity, which is natural because while you want state your feelings about the doc and what you got out of it you don't want to come on here and talk about private things) I will now on top of just watching the doc for the usual reasons I watch them (entertainment, most things on TV suck, and education because I like to learn new things on a variety of topics) I will try to pay more attention to not just the big picture but see if I can watch for the little things (tone of voice, peoples eyes and how they look at someone can say a lot and stuff like that) that may point out the cultural differences and what is good and bad in each one (this is more or less what I was thinking and I tried to type it out but I kind of screwed it up so i hope it makes sense)

    3. Guest

      I think people forget to imagine themself in the shoes (or the barefeet) of the person living the transformation. In the first part with the girl struggling with alcoholism, people say she cries too much, perhaps that's what the editor chose to portray. I am certain much more footage was taken of her brave approach. Who would have swam in an infested river? Who would have slept, shite, eat, work in those conditions for a full month (if i remember well) and at the same time deal with their demons.
      I dare anyone to go live with a tribe but more so, go live with a neighbour for a month and follow their ways even if they offer a little more comfort than they keep for themselves and see if you can.
      I spent 2 1/2 month in the village of Gaoua in Burkina Faso with a family of 20 or so (lost count), 1 old man 2 wifes and a bunch of kids of all ages. Even though Gaoua is not that small of a village, my world was turned upside down and sideways. I often went to very small villages with the girls of the house to buy fish and sell it in the street at night. I spent nights at times among the people of these small villages. It is inimaginable what can happen when you least expect it.

    4. adilrye

      I don't understand the mean comments either. Yes, she cries a She's in a totally new world. It's boiling hot, she's doing back breaking work, in a new culture, with primitive materials...and she has personal demons to figure out. I mean, give her a break. Of course she's emotional, it's a powerful experience.

      These internet heroes wouldn't last a day living with the Afar, I'm guessing.

    5. blahblahbob

      my violin gently weeps for you.

  38. blahblahbob

    Its kind of screwed up how they play with Erengwito's emotions in the 2nd ep. i think he was actually ready to marry that nasty british fatback lady... kind of sad... it would be funny to see her two spoiled, pony riding teen daughters stuck out in the forests of Ecuador eating monkey though.

  39. ilona

    Bravo, the very problems those women are suffering from, they gladly impose upon those tribal people. A very one sided story, which leaves a bitter aftertaste in one's mouth. A very good example of the Society of the Spectacle!

  40. Liz

    1. lovable brown people inspire lost "childlike" white woman
    2. women still serve men first
    3. women still do all the shitwork
    4. YAWN

    and the lady talks all this crap about how she's her mother and the subject is her daughter but you can see the mother lady totally has contempt for the daughter lady. people are so full of it. nice to know it's a worldwide thing.

    1. blahblahbob

      the show is stupid, but i think you read a little too much into that first sub-plot. projecting a fear of rejection, or is it an elektra complex?

  41. jonathon wisnoski

    Now this sounds interesting.