Spanish reality show Perdidos en la tribu (“Lost in the tribe”), presented by Nuria Roca (2009 to 2011) and Raquel Sanchez Silva (2011 onwards), sees Spanish families leave their comfortable Western lives to go and stay with various tribes in locations such as Africa and Indonesia. Their destinations are unknown to them and they begin the adventure of a lifetime with some of the oldest tribes on earth, such as the Himba of Namibia, the Bushmen of Africa, and the Mentawai of the Mentawai Islands. We follow them as they try their best to adapt to a completely different way of life with a group of complete strangers who speak a completely different language. The goal at the end of each stay is for the family to be accepted by the tribe and this is something that is far from an easy feat.
The stark contrast between the Europeans and the tribes is incredible. It is fascinating to compare our lives with theirs and to see the world through their eyes. The tribes have radically different habits, ideas and visions. Namibian Himba women, for example, are not allowed to wash, ever. However, they take great care over their bodies, covering themselves with a red fatty substance which protects them from the desert climate, preventing their skin from burning and keeping it smooth and flawless. The Himba also worship fire, have many wives and build their houses with cow dung. The African Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert endure extreme weather conditions, but manage to live in perfect harmony. The men hunt with bows and poisoned arrows and the women always want to marry the best hunter. They are very superstitious and believe that the spirits are the cause of disease.
In the second season of Perdidos en la tribu the Segura-Romero family was sent to stay with The Kamoro tribe living in a remote region in southern Ethiopia. When a Kamoro child has a stomach ache, this tribe kills a goat and places the goat’s intestines on the face to cure them. One of the most important tribal rituals of the Kamoro takes place in the passage from youth to maturity. To become a man, the child has to jump naked over a long row of cows, while the female members of his family receive lashes as a symbol of pride and devotion. The more scars a woman has resulting from this rite, the more they will be respected. One of the hallmarks of this town is the hair of women: painted red with a mixture of ocher and animal fat. Another tribe of the second season was the Nakulamene, from the Vanuatu Islands. The Nakulamene is one of the friendliest and most welcoming tribes that inhabit the Pacific, but this is a tribe full of taboos, prohibitions and secrets. The clothing of the Nakulamene is very simple: only a tiny grass loincloth, protected with a long grass skirt.
Perdidos en la ciudad (“Lost in the city”) is a third season spin-off of Perdidos en la tribu which sees the Himba and Mentawai tribes from the first season come to Spain to live in the homes of the Carrión-Roldán and Recuero-Oliva families for thirty days. This edition of the programme had neither winners nor losers. The idea was simply to show how these primitive tribes could fit into the modern developed world. Again, it is fascinating to see the world through their eyes. The astonishment and wonder is clearly written all over the faces as they try to fathom all they see around them. Our modern world is so different to theirs and you can’t help but question who leads the happier lifestyle. There are things to be learned by both parties, but we are often left contemplating that maybe we have a lot more to learn, or should we say “un-learn”, than them.