Living with the Mek (World’s Lost Tribes) 5Feb08

Having survived living with the Kombai Tribe, Mark Anstice (aka. The Captain) and I returned to West Papua to live with a different tribe – the Mek – huge step up from the first series – not to spoil it – but watch out for the old woman when we arrive in a village called Merengmen…

US Premiere: Living with the Mek – the Adventures of Mark & Olly Travel Channel: Sunday 10th Feb, 10pm
UK Premiere: World’s Lost Tribes: Discovery Channel: Tuesday 12th Feb, 9pm –

Interview with Mark
Interview with Me

If you really want to know what was going through my head, at the begining – here is the first entry from my journals: read here

149 Responses to “Living with the Mek (World’s Lost Tribes)”

  1. Veronica Says:

    I saw the show last night and I thought you were the bravest one because Mark did not want to go first on the manmade bridge. It was tense seeing you on there but you made it. It was amazing to me how the Mek chief responded to everyone. The Mek tribe live on an amazing and beautiful location! It is so different to see how you and Mark are seperated into two different families. This is going to be an adventure in itself. The show is great and I can’t wait to see what happens next week.

    All the best Olly! You’re the best. Good luck and take care!


  2. James Says:

    Watched your first series on the Kombai…Loved that !!!
    Now am amazed already on the new one…the Mek..
    Take care and good luck 2 u….

  3. misha Says:

    Ive been watching the programme and find it fascinating! I also think Ollie is a bit of alright ;)

  4. Steve Says:

    This is great TV! I look forward to the next episode! You and Mark remind me of me and my best friend, who also work together. We are different personalities, but put us together on a project, and we can do amazing things. Thank you for bring such an educational program to TV that is fun to watch! I enjoy learning about the tribes, and you guys make me feel that I am on the adventure with you. Awesome! Awesome! Awesome!

  5. Katie Lagacy Says:

    I have to say I’m a little obsessed with the show. I have always been fascinated by different cultures around the world (hence why I’m addicted to the Travel Channel), and this is great insight into a dying culture. It cracked me up how Markus kept talking of you getting bored while there. How could you? No electricity or running water makes it all the more interesting. Just to imagine a land untouched by modern technology marvels and intrigues me at the same time. I can’t wait until next week. Thanks for letting us all see there’s more to life than cell phones and iPods.
    Wishing all the best in whatever you do!
    <3 ~Katie

  6. Nicole Says:

    Thank you for doing what you do. I am absolutely facinated and look forward to watching each week. It’s incredible how different life is there and yet how similar we all are as humans and the trials and tribulations we face. Thanks for opening a window into mankind and the elements. True reality – it doesn’t get any better than this.

  7. Samantha Says:

    Saw your show last night , all I can say >>>> VERY INTRIGUING!! We loved your program! I talked about your program at work all day. We are currently doing more research on the Mek Tribe for a school report. I can not thank you enough for introducing my family to a fascinating world. ~ Samantha

    (You and Mark are so brave.~ Shelby, 16)
    ( I can’t blame you for not sleeping though. ~ Jake,11)

  8. Kaycee Says:


    I watched “Living with the Kombai” last year and it literally changed my life and what I want to do with it. It led me to your iNOMAD website and I think it is a wonderful thing what you are doing for students in your country. If there was something like that when I was growing up, I would have been all over it! Thank you so much for being an inspiration not only to me, but young people across the world. I am LOVING the Mek Tribe. Keep up the awesome work! Tell Mark we said Hi!


  9. Mary Says:

    Watched the first series with the Kombai as a marathon on the Travel channel and was hooked. I am a nurse in the States and it is very interesting how life is viewed so differently in other parts of the world (not to mention the creature comforts that we take for granted). Really like the new series and can’t wait for the next episode.

  10. Alex Says:

    Hi Olly,
    Great show can’t wait till the next episode! – must say the vegetable wear on the preview of the next episode is very fetching;) – not sure that it will catch on here though, mind you if high street fashion gets any more silly I could be wrong!!! I have to say WOW you have such an interesting life – lucky bugger!!! Great blog, I do agree about keeping your eye on the ants – they are rather scary – have seen them dragging a large dead bird up a verticle rock in Aus – was so impressed I didn’t want to tell them they could have gone round it!!;)
    Take care,

  11. Bob Says:

    Awesome series! Really like your hat; would like to have one like it.

  12. JessicaTX Says:

    HI Mark and Olly

    I stumbled on your show quite by accident and have become really interested in how you both have to undergo such trials. I couldn’t do it. BTW, haven’t they ever heard of blankets? If they could weave string bags then perhaps they could also weave blankets.

    Anyway, I have to say that you two are definately the talk around the water cooler.

    All the best!


  13. Denis Says:

    What a wonderful series!!! It’s so great to watch a program that captures the humanity of the subjects. I’ve watched a lot of documentaries that chronicled people from far away lands and very different cultures, but they almost always make you feel that your watching fish in an aquarium. I would love to see an episode that would involve bringing a select 10 or 15 persons from the Mek tribe, and introduce them to Mark and Ollies world. It would be fascinating!! Think about it, the Mek dining on escargot, lobster, and filet mignon! Staying in a 5 star hotel, etc, etc. As long as it was done with limited contact with the public to preserve their dignity of course. What about it producers!!!

  14. Stephe Says:

    Oliver, you are The Man.

    The “Home, Sweet Home” episode has just aired on the Travel Channel here in the U.S., with you dancing around the Mek at the end, wearing your penis gourd. LOL! I can’t help but admire the emotional and physical strength you and Mark have, the sheer determination you use to simply do what you’ve got to do. You should have told that Mek woman, “I beg to differ! The women where I come from love their men big and hairy, lady!” :D

    “Living With the Mek Tribe” is amazing to watch, in that issues you wouldn’t think occurred in such a simple place actually do.

    Keep up the great work.

  15. Chasity♥ Says:

    Hey Guys!
    Ok I absolutely love the show. It definitely keeps your attention. I love the way you guys get right in there and TRY to do what they do. They really are amazing people. One thing that I found fascinating , is that while they really are quite different, they are the same in some aspects. Which I found really neat. When Olly was talking with the women it really made me notice. It opens your eyes to so much more. Keep up the good work guys.I dont miss a show!

    Cant wait till the next one!

  16. rose Says:

    i love what you did mark and olly ur show iits amazing ,i’ve been watching that eversince u
    started,adventure is the no.1 things i like to do,congrats guys to ur brave heart doing a fearless show inorder to entertain the whole world,
    hope to see your next adventure.

  17. rose Says:

    THANKS to travel channel most esp mark and olly,ur show touch
    my heart and learned more about the amazing people somewhere
    out there,’live with the mek’etc…i hope i could goin u guys….make
    more adventure in the future,,,,and takecare .ur show is amazing!….
    with thanks

  18. RachelM Says:

    Hi Olly!
    I have been watching your program on the Mek tribe and find it
    absolutely fascinating! I feel the work that you do is very important because it provides insite into how other people live in these remote places. Most people like myself would never get an opportunity to visit such places. I think it’s great that this tribe welcomed you and Mark into their village and taught you their ways of living. Thanks for such an interesting program! Keep up the good work.

  19. Chris Says:

    This show is amazing. You and Mark are doing something I’ve only dreamed of, living among people of an ancient culture and becoming one with them, accepted as Mek men in their eyes. I’ve always wanted to do something like this, but I imagine it must cost quite alot of money to hire a translator, and the necessary trackers who will take you to their village, and whatever other unforseen expenses one must incur prior to actually “getting there” to where the expedition begins. Along with skydiving, this “adventure trek” is something I’d like to do in my lifetime as well. The only thing I think I’d have trouble with is eating the sago grubs….other than that I am confident that I could pretty much do anything that you and Mark have done yourselves. Its truly amazing how the Mek and even the Kombai can trek through the jungle in barefeet and virtually no clothing to protect them, as the bottoms of their feet have become leathery and accustomed to the jungle floor, whereas back in the civilized world, our feet are much more delicate and would never be able to walk among the jungle floor without some sort of foot protection. I’ve also noticed that occasionally the Mek men smoke. I wonder if that’s just tobacco, or maybe something with a bit more of a kick…..?

    One other observation is that with such little sleep, how do you and Mark manage to stay awake and energized during the day with such little food, and forge ahead, so to speak? I think I’d pass out mid day with such little sleep and the tribe would get angry.

    Cant wait till next episode,
    Take care Ollie!

    Get some sleep!

  20. Mary Ann Says:

    There seemed to be at least one lady “in the family way” during the shows. Were there any births during your stay with either the Kumbai or Mek? Are there special rules (i.e. separate yaweh’s [sp?], special birth attendants, etc.)? Are births celebrated or viewed as just another part of life? I’m sure it is another prime time for a suangi invasion, so there must be a few rituals that are performed.

  21. Simone diSanti Says:

    Thank you, Olly, for your brave explorations into parts and cultures uknown, so those of us who don’t have the opportunity to have these first-hand experiences learn how indigenous cultures live, and how as humans, we lived for thousands of years before “civilization”. You risked your health, safety, and probably your life to learn about these tribes by living among them on their terms….and I salut you, and I admire your effort.

    Simone diSanti.

  22. Gregg Says:

    Hi Olly,

    No one looks better in a penis gourd than you, but why are they worn and why is it painful to wear one? The show is captivating and very interesting and as a new fan, I look forward to viewing future adventures! (Are you really only 30?) In more ways than one, you’re quite cheeky!

  23. Elizabeth Says:

    Hello Olly! Thank you for sharing your incredible sojourn with the Mek. My husband and I look forward to each episode and enjoy discussing the amazing ability you and Mark have to live the Mek lifestyle. We often wonder about the little day-to-day things like cooking, mealtime, etc. And we wonder who else is there with you–cameraman, translators–and what they’re doing. It’s amazing to realize that basically we humans are pretty similar creatures!
    Best regards,

  24. Tracey Hale Says:

    Really enjoy ” Living with the Mek” very informative and entertaining, Olly and Mark you make a great team, hope to see more of your adventures on T.V

  25. Lacey Says:

    Hey Olly! I absolutley love the show! I wish The Travel Channel would show reruns during the week though because I kind of jumped in during the middle and haven’t seen the earlier episodes. I find the people extremely interesting, not to mention their ideas of you and Mark! I thought it was hilarious that the women thought that maybe you weren’t married because you were so tall and hairy!! I think they are amazing people, and the women are so strong! Its one show that I can actually feel good about while I’m watching it!



  26. Sindy Says:

    Dear Olly,
    Your show is amazing I am huge fan and think that you and Mark are
    so f***ing brave. Your show bring me to life, I love nature and hope
    one day to go on my own adventure.One of my wishes is to someday
    meet you guys. You have so much courage and you are truly amazing.
    Keep up the good work. I wish you all the best life and your journey
    has to offer God bless.
    Sindy from N.Y

  27. Kirsten Says:

    Hi Mr. Steeds! I have so many questions about the Mek and even your experience that i doubt will ever get answered on this show. I was wondering if there was a site that gives great detail on this lifestyle.
    For example, what is the average height for the Mek? Did you always have an interpreter with you during the day or did you not have one at all? Do the couples have sex in the huts with other people in them? Did you sneak a few snack bars with you? What did they smell like? Is there any trait or abililty that you thought was more advanced than that of westerners?

  28. Naomi Guffy Says:

    Mr. Steeds,
    Please tell us what you are up to now! Surely you have something new and wonderful in the works…? Will you and Mark go on another adventure together? Will you be visiting the US anytime soon? I love to travel and love the outdoors, but just don’t get a chance, like many people… stuck in a job for what seems like all of eternity. I like to live vicariously through books and shows like yours. I imagine I’m not alone in that. If you keep this up, you will have visited everyplace in known creation by the time you’re Mark’s age… haha.

  29. Tina Says:

    hi Olly and Mark.. i’m just wondering.. is it possible to send a donation to those people? Its really amazing what you guys are doing, its great watching the show but I can’t help to think and wonder if I can help any of the family. Please let me know. thanks

  30. Megan Says:

    Olly, Basically… I’m madly in love with you.

  31. Linda Sadler Says:

    Hello Olly,
    I came across your show (Mek) a few weeks ago. I love it. Years ago I read a book about some adventures of some miners and what they found in New Guinea in the 1920′s & 1930′s. The book was fascinating. But with your show I am able to see a real tribe and how they live from their surroundings. With the book I could only imagine what life was like, but with your “Living with the Mek” I can see the real thing.

    Thanks so much.

  32. Tony Says:

    I really enjoy “Living with the Mek”. I’ve noticed they are always smoking though. What are they smoking? Tobacco? Hemp?

  33. Jolene Says:

    Olly –

    So…living with the Mek tribe. I think your eating better with the Mek than you were with the Kombai. But certainly you were far more comfortable living with the Kombai up in their tree houses. I don’t know how you made it so many days on such little sleep.
    I am absolutely addicted to your show. It’s amazing the similarities between the two tribes and then between the tribes and the western world. I’ve noticed that they eat a few of the same things, and they both believe in the swangie. Very interesting!
    Thanks for giving us a birdseye view of what life is like in all of the places you dare to go.
    By the way, I have to ask…..what is it that the Mek leader smokes all day long?

    Jolene – 28 Marathon, NY

  34. Russell Goldberg Says:

    I love your show on the “Travel Channel” I want nothing more than to experience this for myself. I have lived in forestry homes as a child of the state and never had a a family. I find my self watching and wish for that kinda interaction with the people I know today and never find that kind of commitment and since of family. I am a very out doors person and for years have said it would always be better if I just lived in the jungles of some far of place without the the ways of the this world in the United States.(to much of insincereity and care) I know if given the chance I would prove myself as loyal , hardworking and commited to the tribe. So if there is ever a disscussion of ever sending someone else please consider me and you will know i was the perfect choice.Thank you for your show and the experience through your eyes. Russ Goldberg

  35. anita -florida, USA Says:

    I love the show…….what happened to the girl from tibili – the tribe accused of being a witch??? please tell me… I am dying to know what happened, since this little girl went to this village only to see white men with her own No one should die for sightseeing…

    The tribe was incredibly superstitious of this young girl.. I am surprised they didn’t think the westerners were witches too.

  36. Veronica Says:

    Hi Olly,

    This show last night was amazing. Especially since you had to cross the bridge for the first time to see the Minay tribe. Anyway, what struck me odd and curious was the fact that Albert your guide went missing. So which way did he go? Did he go back to Merengmen or straight ahead to Minay? I don’t remember seeing an explanation about it or maybe I missed it, don’t know. Anywho, the show is great and can’t wait to see the finale next week.

  37. Dianne Says:

    As an adventure traveler myself having made contact with a tribe deep in the Peruvian jungle with several others, I am so hooked on Living with the Mek and won’t have a life after the last show. What’s next for you and Mark?

  38. Milli Says:

    Hello there Olly and Mark.
    I am addicted to your show and no matter what time it airs in California, I stay up watching it all.
    Last night show, Ferestina (witch) disappeared in the early morning.
    Did someone come to take her or did she walk home alone?
    And whatever happended to Albert?…was he in Minay when you got there or did he return to Merengmen? What made him leave you in the middle of the jungle? Was it terrifying to be left there?

    I’m also curious to know, whats in the works?
    Which part of the world are you heading to next.
    Wherever it will be, please stay stafe and healthy.
    And by the way, Olly you look good in the pennis gourd.

    Thank you for a wonderful show and looking forward to many more.

  39. ian (london) Says:

    the show is amazing….i got addicted to it. Mek tribe is fascinating. I admire u and Mark’s bravery. No one ever attempted to immerse themselves to such fascinating and interesting tribe and i would like to thank you for sharing that to us. I’ve been visiting ur website regularly and i find it very knowledgeable. Good luck to you both and wish you all the best. Sadlt, i missed the first series and im just wondering how could i get hold of a DVD of it if there’s is any…again, thank you for suck a wonderful show..

  40. Larry Says:

    Dear Olly… I have been thoroughly engrossed in your (and Olly’s) brilliant film about life with the Meks. Like another poster, I wondered about Albert and, more heart-wrenchingly, the tragic Ferestina. Are you sure she made it back to her home tribe? Do you think – with her beauty – that she was a victim of sexual dominance? How long had she been in Merengue(sp)? She must have arrived recently, after you were there, because she reveals that one of hr reasons for immigrating was the rumor that there were white men in the village. I worry about her. Unlike the others, she sometimes covered her beautiful breasts with her arms. Do you think she wanted to be rescued from something that oppressed her in one or both of the villages? Thanks for the great, illuminating work. Can you fill in some of the gaps for me?

  41. Kenneth Says:

    Wow, it really is true, i always feel like i’m on the trip. Your first adventure was great, and this one has been aswell. I REALLY hope that if you guys aren’t to tired of going from tribe to tribe, that we’ll soon see you on another one of these great shows.


  42. Babo Says:

    What do they smoke?

  43. Zenzile M Sulila Says:

    Hello Olly,
    I love your show and i am glad that there are people like you in this world who are willing to document the lives of so many different cultures. I will kep watching your show.
    I must say i think that you are a good looking man too. Good luck with all your marvelous and interesting adventures.

  44. julia b Says:

    Love your work im so i in loved the Mek tribe im captivated with their life’s.

  45. Susan Meeks Says:

    Dear Mark and Olly,
    My daughter and I love this show. It is fascinating. The people are different, but they seem to be basically the same except they don’t have modern conveniences and the men sleep together and the women and children sleep together. I was amazed at how the assault was resolved in one day. The crime, accusation, even the crime scene investigation. I hate to see this show end, but I can’t wait to see the farewell episode.

  46. Sonya Says:

    Ollly & Mark.. Isn’t it wonderful to know that there are people out there who still can be so accepting of the “white man”. What reason is there for missionaries to go there and tell them they must be rid of their idols, because they are bad, and then turn around and give them new ones. I am happy that you both came away leaving nothing but love for those who took you in and showed you life in the mountains of Papua.

  47. Michele Says:

    I love the show. I look forward to seeing the guys do such an awsome job each week. Keep up the good work..

  48. Elizabeth Says:

    Olly, comfort notwithstanding, I though you looked pretty hot in the penis gourd. I’m wondering, did you or Mark get to take them home with you?

  49. vicky Says:

    It sunday the 29th of March I was flipping channels and saw the show, I thought it looked interesting caues I to like to learn about different cultures and the was people live. I think what you guys are doing is a great thing you let people see that there is others that are living this way today like they over 7000 years ago. Althought I did feel sorry for you both when you had to put on you’r p#@is covers you did it with grace. Keep up the good work and stay safe.
    Vicky ( Michigan)

  50. mike Says:

    hey olly,
    i just have to say i have enjoyed watching you and mark on living with the mek and i am very impressed at how you two handle being part of the new tribe and taking on their traditions. i would love to be able to go on a grand adventure like that myself and think i may go someday, i am watching the finale of living with the mek tonight and i am looking forward to your next adventure please do take on a new challenge so i can learn more about these other customs and tribes, i have enjoyed watching you two very much and hope to see you again with a new tribe,


  51. Melissa - Texas Says:

    Olly, you and Mark are unbelievable. I have been watching the show “Living with the Mek” for about 4 hours now. It’s incredible. It’s amazing to see how other people live in their “own” world. You guys are absolutely brave. To see you guys getting ready to leave the Mek Tribe will be very sad for all. It’s been great watching this program. I just happened to stumble across the show and couldn’t leave it. I wish you guys the best in all your adventures. May God be with you both always. I look forward to all of your upcoming events and read up on your blog etc. Can I also mention that you are so totally hot?

  52. Pam Says:

    FASCINATING!!! Things most people dream of but will never be brave enough to do. I live vicariously through you both and am hooked on your work.

  53. Dianne Says:

    Hi Olly,
    Thank you for sharing your adventures of “Living with the Mek Tribe.” I have truly enjoyed every minute of the program. The program included most every aspect of day to day living with the Meks. However, the people mainly lived off the land and I was curious as to what the women used for sanitary hygiene purposes. Also, during one episode a toddler received a bath and it appeared to be some type of soap used. Was there something used from the jungle plants to create this soapy substance?

    Thanks again for sharing your adventures. Keep up the good work. The program deserves an award.

  54. George Says:


    I’ve seen both series now, and I’m totally addicted, as so many have said before me! Thanks for sharing, and allowing so many of us, not only to learn so much about other lands and cultures, but to live vicariously through you! You guys are amazing! I consider you both my newest heroes!

    Thanks again!

  55. Deborah Says:

    Dear Olly,
    I just finished watching the conclusion of the Living with the Mek series. I have really enjoyed the series and learned so much. Thank you for making us aware of people like this who live on this planet. May God keep you save in your travels. I hope there will be future series to view. This one has surely been a pleasure. Thank you.

  56. Alex Says:

    Hi, Olly–

    I’ve watched both shows and I loved them! I would really like to see you guys come to the States and live on the Pine Ridge Reservation or with a tribe like the Crow Creek Indians. There’s a great story to tell–and the majority of Americans would be stunned to find out that the traditional American Indian culture still exists in the U.S. Please come over!


  57. tracy Says:

    hi olly,
    i just saw the final show, and i can only imagine how hard it was to say goodbye. i’ve been watching since the first show, and am quite a fan. i want to thank both you and mark for showing us this fascinating group of people. can’t wait to see where you’ll be next.

    ps: did you keep the penis gourd? (the mek men must develop calluses…)
    also, if you ever decide to go on “the bachelor”, let me know!

  58. Wlliam O'Donnell Says:

    GoodTV but still how much of the money went to the Mek. Will they now get artesian wells? Medical clinics (50% infant mortality). 19th Century agriculture? So many decades after Margaret Meade aren’t these people simply incredibly poor? Can’t we white people stop making money off them and start lifting them up to the 21st century? We now know them personally cane we just call it good TV?

  59. Katherine Says:

    I just watched you story of the visit with the mek tribe. This is so fascinating. To be in a part of the world so untouched and with people so unique. Dont you wonder how they are? Do you plan on returning for another visit? If so I hope we can all know how they are doing and happenings in their lives since you were last there. Thank you for the chance to experience this type of adventure which I can only dream about.

  60. Deborah Says:

    Just watched “Farewell to the Mek”. Well done gentleman.

    I am still full of tears! Thank You!


  61. Tia (AL,USA) Says:

    You guys are remarkable! You guys are blessed to be able to embark on an unchartered journey, you were (initiated) part of their tribe! I believe this is going to be a huge influence on the world and hopefully help the way we live and how we treat our land, we have to change somehow and seeing this definitely wants to make me change a few things!
    Thanks to you and Mark for opening up people’s eye to a different world in which we live!
    Tia =)

  62. Tia (AL,USA) Says:

    You guys are remarkable! You guys are blessed to be able to embark on an unchartered journey, you were (initiated) part of their tribe! I believe this is going to be a huge influence on the world and hopefully help the way we live and how we treat our land, we have to change somehow and seeing this definitely wants to make me change a few things!
    Thanks to you and Mark for opening up people’s eye to a different world in which we live!
    I only wish I was someone famous or had power so that I could bring this to everyones’ attention, but I have been spreading the word!
    Tia =)

  63. lorne Says:

    I love your show its the best its so intersing, and at the end of the shows airings was it sad to leave Merengmen,but it must of been good to finaly get a nice hot shower. Well any ways i love your show

  64. Tia (AL,USA) Says:

    You guys are remarkable! You guys are blessed to be able to embark on an unchartered journey, you were (initiated) part of their tribe! I believe this is going to be a huge influence on the world and hopefully help the way we live and how we treat our land, we have to change somehow and seeing this definitely wants to make me change a few things!
    Thanks to you and Mark for opening up people’s eye to a different world in which we live!
    I only wish I was someone famous or had power so that I could bring this to everyones’ attention, but I have been spreading the word!
    Tia =)
    and the time that I am posting this:
    Sunday, March 30, 2008 10:38 PM

  65. Amesha Says:

    Hello Olly!
    I just watched the finale of Living with the Mek and was really touched by yours and their tears. It would have been difficult to say goodbye to you and Mark (as I’m sure it was for you to say to the Merengmen), but still I envy your experience. I’ve always been interested in different cultures, but this show was truly amazing. I was amazed at their hospitality, sincerity and innocence. They seemed completely unashamed and accepted their lives as they were without over thinking anything. I was impressed with yours and Mark’s ability to adapt to their way of life, and I think “more civilized” areas of the world could really learn something from the Mek. I want to thank you and Mark for an inspiring show.
    As for questions, I was fascinated by their solid beliefs in evil spirits. Although those beliefs differ from western civilizations, was there ever a time when you felt scared of those spirits, even on the same level as ghost stories? And is there anything else you could tell me about their spiritual beliefs?

  66. Brent Conley Says:

    What a gem in anthropological and television education, intimate, filled with humor, humility and just plain goodness, absolutely precious. The innocence of the human soul is so revealed by the merengmen tribe. Innate human beauty and purity at the most basic level.
    They are no longer just interesting as a study of primitive peoples and primitive spirituality to me. I simply love them and the folks who made this show. The most intimate documentary ever of hunging/garther peoples and how precious they are. I still guess some of the trives aren’t as kind as the merengmen tribe who I now know as a loving people except I wish they would take a bit more responsibility with innocent girls not being evil witches.


  67. Nikki from NC Says:

    Hi Olly!

    You and Mark caught my attention with your series “Living With The Mek”. (Even before the initiation complete with penis gourds ;-) ) I am wowed by how you all chose to share what you learned. How did you decide what angle to share with us the viewer? I often watch the Travel Channel but, missed your first series. I will be watching for the next adventure!

    I applaud you both for not tainting their way of life with the ways of the western man. I really feel that I got an accurate snapshot of their lives. Are you planning on keeping in contact somehow with the Merengmen?

    What happened to Albert? Also hoping our little “witch” made it home okay…do you know?

    Also, kudos to the editors who edited out the translators. Bad for them but, good for us.

    I hope you and Mark can catch up on some sleep before the next adventure! For God’s sake pack an air mattress!!! lol

  68. Steve Says:

    I watched the last episode tonight. I felt the sadness in your leaving the tribe. Do you think at some point you will go back to visit the tribe and share an update with us?

  69. William Legarreta Says:

    Hi! Olly and Mark. Living with the Mek was a very fascinating experience. I will like to know what happened to those left behind in those mountains. I guest, their life expectancy is short. I wonder if the both of you are planning a return to see if the Mek’s families you live with for 90 days still there. I personally will like to know what happened to the chief, his wife, and the others.

  70. William Legarreta Says:

    Hi! Olly and Mark. Living with the Mek was a very fascinating experience. I will like to know what happened to those left behind in those mountains. I guess, their life expectancy is short. I wonder if the both of you are planning a return to see if the Mek’s families you live with for 90 days still there. I personally will like to know what happened to the chief, his wife, and the others.

  71. Paul Says:

    I am sure it has been suggested to you before, but what about a TV series that reverses the roles. I would love to see a series with one or two of the Mek men experiencing life in America (or England) I would be willing to host one of them in my family.

  72. Rhonda Says:

    I watched all of the episodes of your Living with the Kombai and Mek tribes. The last episode tonight brought tears to my eyes when the people of the Mek tribe were saying goodbye to you and Mark.
    In this modern world of ours where we take so much for granted it is hard to imagine what it would be like to live day to day faced with a constant struggle for survival. To say that I admire these people would be an understatement.
    Thank you for letting me into their world through your eyes and experiences.

  73. Rochelle Says:

    I am a huge fan of “Living with the Mek.” I think it was great that you and Mark were doing. Just getting into the daily lives of these people is just great. I saw the last episode and felt so sad for everyone because the first day was anything but pleasant, but that family bond was there. Great show!!

  74. Chris Allen Says:

    I am watching Mark and yours departure, as I type- what an experience and the both of you are so lucky to have lived with the Mek.
    Yes, you’ll “…carry them with you, wherever you go”
    Thank you for the journey, and your willingness to go where no one else has been before, while sharing with everyone else.
    I really liked seeing the shot you standing at the farewell, with the chicken…nice!

  75. Laura Allan Says:

    I want to express my admiration for the work you and Mark have done among indigenous tribes. I can’t imagine the hardship of knowing possibly easier or potentially healthier ways of doing things and yet knowing the line of staying respectful of the tribes’ way of life. To immerse yourself wholly into another world would create so many ethical dilemmas and I am in awe of how you and Mark handled them. Thank you for your willingness to experience these things for those of us who dream of other worlds and lives but cannot experience them ourselves. Good luck on your next adventure.

  76. deafchristiangrl Says:

    I think you have risked their lives. As people watch your show, More people will want to visit as a tourist attraction.

  77. Valena Says:

    When the weight of the world rests heavy on my shoulders, I find it so refreshing to view you and Mark experiencing the mek tribe. I have watched both of your experiences with the two different tribes and I look forward to your next Journey. Surely your show teaches us in the western world the value of community and sharing in a quiet setting. It would be nice to see you all go back and visit them every year for a week or two. They need you all as much as you may feel you needed their experience. In the process, it will have major impact on this world of ours in ways that are not yet apparent. I say for the greater good though. Thank you for your continued work.

  78. Rene' Says:

    Opened a whole new world for me.
    Travel Channel played the every episode today and i have never been so captivated by tv like this .
    Thanks Ollie for sharing that experience with us !
    Will your eperience go to a book ?
    would to love to read about what we didnt see .

  79. walter71 Says:

    i was intrigued up until the last few episodes. the only reason i watched because of olli.

    the show didn’t answer some questions like where’s the soap, toilet paper, tooth brush and toothpaste? where did they bathe? did they wash their clothes?

    what’s with the mek? they are was shorter compared to the kombai tribe.

    i just looked over the guys bio’s and i do not believe mark is 38 because he has gray hair — i believe, and crow’s feet. sorry, mark.
    i don’t believe olli is 30 more like 35 perhaps.

    i don’t believe it’s a good idea for another show. no more sago or yams or pigs for me. i’ve learned enough from the tribes. although over i did enjoy the shows tremendously!

  80. Valena Says:

    I forgot to mention that I loved those penis gords on the two of you. Your butts looked fantastic! No wonder most of the posts are by women. It was great to see great looking bodies. lol I look forward to seeing more, don’t be so shy.

  81. Heidi Says:

    Dear Olly,
    Hats off to you and Mark for bringing to viewers a world unknown and unseen. I hope that the tribe will preserve its original culture and not be influenced (except for medical advancement) by the western world. Living with the Mek was by far the most meaningful show on TV, and I will eagerly await yet another fascinating production by you and all that made this work possible. I hope there will forever be a place on this planet where compassion is the currency rather than money. All the best in all you do. Cheers!

  82. LuDena Says:

    great show, You did a good job -living respectfully with the mec and not trying to change them. you left a lot of questions unanswered–especially dealing with women and child birth and after care of the baby? but hey you are men what can we expect :-)

    The Mek have such a joy in life despite their hardships and lack of personal possessions-It puts us to shame-

    I wish we could help the mek medically without interfering with their culture and lives.
    I hope that someone can record more of their tradtions, culture ,language and lives before we kick them out of Eden.

    We need a international law preventing the so called civilized world from interfering with the primitive civilizations and allow them to live as they have for thousands of years–without our belief systems and ways forced on them. think how much we can learn from them as for the witch thing I know evangilistic christians with the same beliefs :-(

  83. Lyn Says:

    The series of the Mek tribe was inspirational, emotional and a wonderful program that should be seen in schools everywhere. Watching the people validated my belief that cultural diversity is so important in understanding and co-existing within the world. It seems to me that we, living in ‘industrialized’ and so-called ‘civilized’ cultures have lost a great deal of the qualities that make a person whole. My grandsons watched some of the program with me and, although immersed in today’s culture, appreciated how the people lived and worked with nature. They also cringe when I say how I would like to live a more simpler life in the woods. I hope you have another adventure in the future. Thank you for sharing your adventures with the world.

  84. John Doe Says:

    I loved the show and just watched the final episode last night !

    After reading the posts above I wanted to give an opinion on some of the posts.

    A lot of people are interested in sending money or pigs to the MEK. This is a very bad idea. I think that a few pigs given by Mark and Olly is completely appropriate but if all the viewers flooded them with money and pigs it would definitely stop them from working hard in the fields and hunting. Once interest faded they would be left with the difficulties. What I would recommend sending would be seeds or things like this.

    The way that the MEK sleep is ideal for their survival. The body can slowly adapt to REM sleep in bursts with the occasional waking. This “sleeping with one eye open” is ideal for survival. It keeps them ready for an intruder or wild animal and they naturally wake when they need to stoke the fire. Three months is not long enough to fully adapt a sleeping cycle I think.

    I think their supersticions worked well for the MEK. If you remember the huts catching fire and them staying awake to watch for the suangi. By staying awake it enabled them to keep an eye out for more fires. When Ferestina came from another village to see the white men the chief started suspecting her of being a witch. The chief is very wize to be warry of this girl coming into their “home”. It doesn’t warrant killing her but the chief knows from experience and his instinct that trouble can happen with her coming into the village. The point is that their superstiticions are their 6th sense.

    I am very impressed with the MEK and how they live. I wouldn’t change my life for theirs but I also hope don’t think they would be any happier with my life than theirs.

  85. Tessa Says:


    I am a big FAN!! I watched the show from 3PM to 10PM last night. Wow, I felt the emotions during the last hour. I felt sorry for the women because they really liked you and Mark. Even the chief was sad. Did you give any gifts to the people before leaving? They seemed to like the cigarettes.
    Ever since I discovered your show, I have been glued to the travel channel and have stopped watching those prime time gossip shows. Where is your next stop? I look forward to seeing more of your expeditions. Excellent job!!!

  86. lisa mansar Says:

    Hi Olly Wolly,first,i have to say that when i first saw this show i fell in love with it.I never did miss an episode @all,i alwayz remember to watch it,actually i alwayz remimded myself to watch it.What made u guyz do it?whatever it is,please jus keep on doing it,cause i love it,Is there going to be any more Mark n Olly,cause i will miss the show and seeing u guyz,the best part is when u guyz had to wear those long things on ur penis,lol…..well any way i will miss the show,and i will keep up on this ok,well take care ……….lisa……

  87. Melissa B Says:

    I really enjoyed yours and Mark’s adventure with the Mek. It was very interesting. Will you be updating information about them on a later date?
    I look forward to seeing your next adventure. And whatever you two do, be very careful.

  88. Colorado Bob Says:

    Olly, thanks for taking me on what has been a most educational and fascinating journey. I have to admit I was a bit disappointed to learn that missionaries had infiltrated this otherwise unspoiled environment to give the Mek their “truth,” but hopefully the influence is minimal. What do you plan on doing next to top this adventure? I’ll be staying tuned…..

  89. Margo Says:

    I loved the show about living with the Mek! This is only for the brave!

  90. Lourelli Says:

    Wahley!!!! I watched the last episode with sadness and tears rolled down my cheeks, esp. when Miriam was crying. I loved your show; The Meks have become my family on Sunday nights. What a commendable work you have done. I hope the newborn will grow to be a strong and healthy boy. I don’t understand why the Minays had to be invited to the party…there was a lot of food and the Merengman could have had the food all to themselves. They work so hard for food! Potatoes and pigs will always remind me of the Meks. Keep up the good work and I look forward to another exciting adventure! Love you Mark and Olly!!!

  91. Telma Says:

    First of all, I want to say that I loved you journey with the Meks. I felt really sad when you guys had to leave. Seeing your adoptive family there saying their good byes was so sad and at the same time so touching. I hope you guys can go back there one day… Tchau!

  92. Jessica K Says:

    My son (6 yrs old) and I just discovered your show a week ago. I’ve been watching as many episodes as I could leading up to the finale last night. My boy was fascinated, and has been playing “naked Africans” ever since. lol. Anyway, thanks for a great show. :)

  93. Jodie Says:

    I am truly sad that this wonderful series has now ended. But, I can only imagine how ready you were to return to your homes–even though leaving was I am sure not an easy thing. The Mek are a wonderful people and I feel very blessed to have learned about them. What an interesting group of people! You and Mark are very lucky to have had that wonderful yet exhausting experience!
    Thank you for sharing with us all of the amazing things that took place while you were there.
    You are both truly inspirational and now I am sad my Sunday nights won’t be spent with you!
    Kudos to you both!

  94. writeherzblocc Says:

    Hi, Mark and Olly

    Great show……as a visual anthropologist I felt that you all did a very good job representing the tribe in a holistic manner. I was very sad to see this particular show end …but can’t wait to see the next!!!!
    Love, respect,peace

    Rhaine E. Waters

  95. Dorie Says:

    I just wanted to say that I’ve watched each and every episode and cannot thank you (and Mark) enough for providing such enjoyment. It was such an impact – in such a way that I was even emotional as I watched the last episode. I most definitley will miss watching you, Mark and the Merengman tribe. It would be great to see any follow up with them. How facinating would it be if one of them or a few of them could spend some time in Western civiliazation?!? I bet Miriam could hold her own – she always had me laughing! I hope you do another adventure so the travel channel can air it!!

  96. curtis Says:

    great show mek

  97. Maya Says:

    Okay so I cried last night when you two left the Mek. I truly felt the sadness that I think they felt as you left. What’s next for you two? I couldn’t bear to think I couldn’t see you two beautiful men again and especially you Olly. You make my heart pitter-patter, mate!

  98. Betty Says:

    The last show was so sad. I cried. I love the way you give us another look into how other people live their lifes. Makes me think how spoiled we are here in the States. Thats life living to live and not worry about material things. Everything they have is for everyday servival. Not worring about video games or how much gas they have. All natural. Your GREAT!

  99. Maloree Says:

    our family loves the show? Where are you off to next? Our 18 year old daughter longs to be like you! What a great inspiration you are! Gosh, 30 and a fan club.
    The best-

  100. Mitzie Says:

    Greetings Olly! It’s been fascinating to watch the Mek Series. The glimpse into their culture was so interesting, and I am honored and humbled to have watched it (albeit as 3 feet of snow lay outside my northern Minnesota window). Thanks for helping to expand perspectives of this world we live in, and here’s to your next great adventure!

  101. Vince Says:

    Outstanding program series. The “civilized” world can learn a great deal from these wonderful people on how to live together and help each other. A very moving ending particularly where Markus and Juliana felt a parental responsibility for Mark and Olly, and I am sure that is a connection and a privilege they will never forget. Well done gentlemen and thank you.

  102. Ada Says:

    Living with the Mek, WOW! I was very moved… it was so wonderful to see how the Mek’s took you and Mark in and made you family members. To see their world in your eyes was something else. Can’t wait to see your next adventure

  103. MariaPalavra Says:

    Hello Olly,
    I watched the show yesterday and I could not think of a better way to spend my Sunday afternoon, it made me laugh, cry, and feel a variety of other emotions. You and Mark did an amazing job, and looked hilarious I may add wearing the penis gourd.. LOL .
    My favorite of all the Mek’s was the wife of chief Markus’ She is for sure the one running the show. I guess it goes without saying in every culture that “behind a great man there is always a great woman”. Wouldn’t you agree with me?
    And please, please, can I accompany you on your next great adventure…….lol
    Best wishes…..

  104. J Says:

    Amazing show! The BEST reality TV ever. I love the Mek tribe. Wish them the best!!!

  105. Lynne Says:


    This is the first series I’ve ever watched on the Travel Channel, I’m usually over on the SciFi Channel or watching some CSI show,
    but I accidentally came across Living with the Mek and was hooked.
    It was facinating and wonderful to peek into a culture so primitive. Not that I would ever want to live there, I hate bugs.

    Anyway, you guys are so brave and insane actually – but the bravest thing in my opinion that you did was… not crossing the rotten vine ladder, not climbing the slippery slopes or surprising a tribe that you didn’t know how you would be received, but to actually put on those gourds and come out of that hut into broad daylight was the BRAVEST thing a Westerner could ever do. Especially considering how painful it was to even wear that thing.

    I have to apologize however, I did laugh my head off when I saw those snowy white bums in contrast to the natives there… but recovered quickly when I saw how torturous it must have been. If I were a guy there would be NO WAY I would ever do what you did.

    And by the way, you did look pretty darn good in it, but it’ll never catch on over here. It would take away all the charm of the saggy pants trying to show off a butt crack.

    Can hardly wait to see what you guys do next. It’ll be tough to top this one.

  106. Danni Says:

    Olly, thank you for sharing one of the most intriguing and fascinating shows on television with us. Living with the Mek is truly reality television at it’s best. I cannot convey to you how this series has touched me…how much your dedication to the tribe and perserverance through harsh conditions has touched me. I have always been intrigued by other cultures, and the Mek have been the most enthralling that I have seen. As a woman, I feel a certain connection with the women of the tribe on a spiritual level, and wish them the absolute best. God bless you and god bless the Mek tribe!

  107. Bettina Says:

    my husband and I LOVE the show. I think we have seen everything but the last episode. Is there a rerun anywhere? or maybe we can download it online?

  108. Sallie J(Va Beach) Says:

    Hi Olly, I watched the last episode and it brought tears to my eyes. After watching all the episodes, I myself felt that I am part of the Mek family as well. This is a kind of show that all generations these days should watch – learn to respect others, no matter where they came from and their ethnic background. You both done a very good job (living with the Meks). Keep up with the good work and hopefully, you both come up with Part 2. Thanks for an uplifting show!

  109. Laurie Filice Says:

    I stayed with the Yali tribe in the early 90″s when Weat Papua was still Irian Jaya & have been enjoying your time with the Mek. Still have my orchid vine bracelets- you two might like to meet Joel Kramer who crossed the main part new Guinea 1992 by sea kayak & did encounter a tribe that had had NO contact – no plastic– no metal. He wrote Beyond Fear which could have been better written, but the story is amazing. Thanks for bringing back some wonderfukl memories for me!! Laurie

  110. April Peterson of Minnesota Says:

    Loved the show and craving more!

  111. Lori Says:

    All I can say is thank you so much for bringing the beauty and simplicity of the Mek living to my home. Watching this show has reminded me that I can get lost in the daily hum of this technology-crazed life, and that life can be just as wonderful without all of the gadgets that we have laying around today. Thank you once again…I am truly inspired to explore.

  112. Amy Says:

    Ollie and Mark you are terrific. I love the show.
    Ollie, I’m a journalist too (newspaper) from New York, but no story here can top what both of you have experienced. Thank you for showing us a world most will never visit.
    I was wondering if medical help was ever brought to the tribe. It seems pointless for them to die from things like Malaria that we have treatment for. If it’s a matter of money, is there a fund for us to send to?
    Anyway, I am a girly, girl, who thinks roughing it is going without a hair dryer for a day so your project really enlightened me.
    PS you mentioned you were getting over your girlfriend during this trip.
    Her loss, I say. Best of luck to both of you and I hope future shows about other areas of the globe are in the works.
    You might want to try New Jersey, now that’s a crazy place all on it’s own. :0)

  113. Erica Miloser Says:

    Dear Olly and Mark,

    Thankyou for sharing this wonderful and informative adventure with the rest of the world. It’s so great to learn about other people’s cultures, and how they live their lives. I just watched the last episode of the show, and hope you both will be having some more adventures in the future. I commend you on your bravery, and how you both respectfully integrated the Mek tribe. Olly, you seemed to have touched the hearts of the Mek women, with quite an emotional goodbye. Great show, great entertainment guys. And, now the western world will never look at a gourd in quite the same way.

    Take care,
    Erica 37

  114. Agnes Says:

    It’s obvious that you have two translators and two camera men staying with Olly and Mark the whole time to film this show. What do they eat? Where do they sleep?

  115. Monica M. Lunasco Says:

    My dearest Olly,
    What an amazing thing you and Mark are doing. I have been absolutly captivated from day one of your adventures, first with the Kombai, then with the Meks. you are truely an amazing man. I was born in Hawaii, and lived off the land for most of my life there. We lived near the mountains, and spent many days and nights there. Your adventures really hit home for me. Seeing the old ways still alive. We too harvested from the land. I also had my very own pig that would follow me everywhere. The memories you have stirred up in me is heartfelt and makes me very homesick. I just wanted to tell you that what you are doing is tremendous. People around the world need to see that not everyone has cars, and clothing, and 3 square meals a day. Life is hard in too many places on our planet, and it’s exciting to see you guys getting in there and getting your hands dirty. Learnign from the tribes, doing as they do. I cried like a baby when the last episode was over. I didn’t want it to end. I look forward to another season with you and Mark. Any idea when that might be? And where?? I also want to tell you what a great thing it was for the tribe that you put your penis gourd back on during the final celebration. I could see how proud you made Cheif Marcus that final day. You made me proud too. Thank you. Keep up the great work, and I look forward to seeing you again soon on another great adventure. Take great care, and God Bless you and Mark always. Love and Aloha, Mon

  116. louis Says:

    As I watched your series I fell in love with the Mek! My eyes were filled with tears as I watched you say goodbye. I Love you guys!
    (Ok, you look good in a gourd)

  117. Graeme & Deborah Says:

    What a great show. We enjoyed every minute. Thanks to you we have been lucky to see such wonderful, friendly people living life as they see the world, a far cry from our manic western lifestyle. I hope that you have many more adventures and keep entertaining so many people with interesting TV.

  118. Kelly Jones Says:

    Hi Olly,
    I have just watched the last episode & cried when you left!!!! (i think it was Mirium that choked me up). I also think it would be amazing if you went back & did an update as the Mek really touched my heart.
    Take care

  119. Melissa Says:

    Olly, I would love to learn more about your adventures with the Mek. Your blogs on the Travel Channel website are illuminating, but still lacking in much of the behind-the-scenes information that your viewers obviously desire! Do you think the Travel Channel will release a DVD set of your and Mark’s adventures? Please encourage them to do so! Good luck with the rest of your adventures. May they lead you to greater self-discovery through the discovery of others…

  120. Rod Gates Says:

    Dear Mr. Steeds,
    As intrigued and enthralled as I was by both of your ‘Living With’ series, I’m even more intrigued (and would probably be equally enthralled, too) by what *wasn’t* shown, e.g.:
    1. interesting outtakes that were cut only for lack of time;
    2.the anthropological / geopolitical context of both groups (What, e.g., are their immediate and long-term prospects? Do big-moneyed interests have designs on their land? What, is the practical situation vis-a-vis their obvious medical needs [that c.50% infant mortality comes to mind] and the conflict between the medical aid could be provided them and the inevitable damage it would do to their culture?
    3. How much of a ‘footprint’ did the film / support crew make / leave? How big was the crew and how did they live (and an what proximity to the Kombai / Mek?) How much of a cultural impact did your coming and leaving make on both groups?
    4. Speaking of: what kind of ethical gudelines did y’all establish and observe regarding your contact with the tribes?
    A ‘making-of’ feature would be fascinating indeed. So would a book detailing both the ‘living-with’ and the ‘making of’ aspects of both series.
    And so would DVDs incorporating additional footage and anthropological commentary.–and answers to such (to me) nagging questions as: Have you and Mr. Anstice maintained any kind of contact with your friends in the two tribes since you left them? And what kind of policy have you and your production company established regarding further contact (Or is there an official government policy on such, for better or worse?)
    What a paradox that your series have made tens of millions of people be aware of, identify with, and care achingly for, these people whose best chance for survival would probably have been to remain as isolated and unnoticed as possible.
    Or not?
    Whichever, your interventions would seem to demand a followup, for humanitarian reasons, obviously–but also because a huge number of people now care enormously about the welfare and destiny of these two peoples.
    Me very much included. Thanks to you both for risking life and health to bring this off.
    Rod Gates

  121. Francesca Says:

    I agree with Larry, I am VERY nervous about the whereabouts of Ferestina. That was a witch hunt of the purest kind. I think it was odd that she disappeared the next morning before anyone got up. I really fear that she was murdered in the night, especially when everyone was miraculously cured the next day – they seemed VERY sure that she was gone for good. Did Mark have more information then was mentioned in the show that convinced him that she did indeed return to her home?

    Aside from that … I adored the show. Just discovered it the other day and watched episode after episode – totally mesmerized.

    I will be watching for the next adventure!

  122. Stephe Says:

    Oh, no. We have left the tribe for home. I’m sad it’s over! But if we had to have a final episode, this one was amazing. So much emotion. The Mek made such an impression on your viewers, Olly, but it appeared you and Mark made even more of an impression on them–and in only a few month’s time. Seeing you go made them cry.

    I’ll remember many things from this, but Ferestina tops the list. I simply must write a character based on her one day.

    Thanks does not adequately cover my appreciation for being invited along on your eye-opening journey. But I offer it nonetheless. Thank you!

  123. julie Says:

    Dear Olly,
    I love to watch your show. Very interesting to see how people live, but I have to admit, I love to watch you!!!
    You are hot, hot, hot!!!

  124. Cathy Says:

    Most outstanding series on TV! Bravo to the Travel Channel for bringing you guys into our living rooms and allowing us to feel a part of the action you are experiencing. I cried when you said your good-byes as if I too, were leaving good friends and in a sense, I am, for I will never see the likes of Julianna again and all the others in the Mek Tribe.

    Truly the most entertaining series to date of this sort, and I hope you will continue to bring more shows such as this to us. I can’t bare the thought of not seeing you and Mark, again. I almost feel as though I know you both. Funny how that happens, but it does.

    I very much enjoyed watching you, Olly, with the ladies of the tribe. Of all the emotions you showed, you could never hide the protective feelings that you have for them, it shown through in your body language and that endeared you to me.

    Mark is Mark, and you are right, he is a jungle man, indeed. The two of you are as different as day and night and that is what made the show what it is. Both of you lumbering behind these little people, mimicing their movements was both charming and wistful, to me. Mark tried to remain aloof while you, Olly, you could not do that to save your life. Your heart was on your sleeve non-stop, my friend.

    I read the bios just now of both you and Mark and am truly sorry that you were going through a rough spell at the beginning of the show due to heartbreak. How anyone could walk away from your kindness, confounds me. Maybe you will someday return to the Mek Tribe with a wife to be. To get your second set of parent’s blessing for marriage. Would be wonderful to be married twice, wouldn’t it? Once for legal reasons and then for matters of the heart.

    I bet the Mek Tribe still yearns for you to return. I know I would. I do. So please tell me that there will be more shows of this nature in the very near future.

    Thank you both for such a wonderful show.

  125. Jan Says:

    I just happened on your marathon, living with the Mek on Sunday and I didn’t get anything done. It was wonderful! I’ve never sad on my couch that long. I’m glad I could see it all in one day, because I didn’t have to wait until the next episode. I’ve been telling everyone about it. It brought the world to me in Iowa. There are so many questions that it would be interesting if you could answer them all. I also, know what a pig farm smells like and I can’t imagine living with pigs in the house and then hearing the women have breast fed the pigs sometimes. I breastfed my daughter for a year and a half….all I can say is ouch! I have to say you were brave to be there and do the things the Mek did and wearing the penis gourd on film. That was too funny and when they are really long, does that mean you are more important or more endowed? I can’t wait to keep watching more series and wish I could find the Mek series in a DVD package. Thank you!

  126. playboi130 Says:

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  127. Samantha Says:

    Hello Olly,

    I’m so sad the show is over. I really like watching how other people live. It really makes you think how you live compared to them. They are a great people. So untouched by modern technology. I’m glad you and Mark were there when chief Marcus got sick. I bet they will miss you guys alot. I am interested in how other people live, but I don’t think I could live another way. My husband is from Mexico and in the episode when Marcus was sick, his mother would do the same to him as they did. His mom would rub everyone down with leaves to protect them from the chupacobra (I hope I spelled that right-it’s kinda like a vampire). My husband, Nicho, said it kinda reminded him of home, except they wear clothes in Mexico. I couldn’t believe the other tribe had so many clothes. I’m glad you and Mark gave them pigs. They really need as many as they can get. I hope I will see you on another show soon.

  128. Vincent of Houston Texas Says:

    I am profoundly touched by the Mek living documentary. Help me understand why the western visitors can not bring various plants like tomatoes, beans and other food sources to plant in the Mek and other tribal territory to reduce the famine…I really felt bad for the chief when the tribe visited and there was hardly enough pork and potatoes. Could
    you teach them to farm pigs. Moreover, if the missionaries prevented them from killing each other why not proseltyze science so that 15 year old girls will not be seen as witches. If their infant mortality rate is
    reduced because of intervention, then they will have to learn skills for
    managing a society of more people-more problems-of all types…

    How about a soccer ball for the kids or frizbees?
    Such introduction of foreign culture happens always…

  129. Livardo Says:

    Ollie (and Mark).. I’ve been engrossed watching “Living with the Mek”. I caught the series half way and I was instantly hooked. I later caught all of the episodes which they played back to back the Sunday they showed the finale.

    The finale was very touching too.. when you said goodbye I admit I choked up a bit. Those people will be talking about your visit for ages.

    Sometimes I envy the way those people live … Not having to get into work, checking emails, going to meetings to make your boss another few bucks, etc…

    One more thing: I wanted to ask.. how many people did you have with you at the village? I mean, you had quite a few people hauling your stuff up that mountain!

    I can’t wait until the next adventure! Will you get off W. Papua Guinea this time? It’s probably getting harder and harder to find civilizations that haven’t been affected by the west. Cheers!

  130. Tom Dean Says:

    dear mark and ollie, i am a big fan of your show. and with all due respect ,i have a sensitive question to ask you. being out there in the jungle for the length of time you are; have you ever had relations with any of the tribes women? i mean this with all due respect. i have read that some tribes offer the best woman to the guests. could you shed some light on this sensitive question please.thank you so much for your wonderful guys are the best.
    sincerely, Tom Dean

  131. Irene Moreno Sandy Says:

    Olly – I want to thank you for sharing your amazing journey with the Mek people. You really captured all the aspects of life for a people
    living so different than most of the world, and it’s in this that I found
    the real beauty. The Mek are different yet the same, faced with the same trials of life we experience, birth, death, work, politics and
    yes the large dinner parties. It was evident that the Mek had a real respect and fondness for both you and Mark, I would imagine it was difficult for you to leave them.
    Olly, you truly have a blessed and unique life…please
    continue sharing these wonderful experiences with us.
    Thank you again – Irene Moreno Sandy, Orange County, California

  132. Victor Tsui Says:

    Thank You Olly~ You are the most REAL travelor I have seen. You have given us a glimpse of culture untouch by modern civilization and technological advancement. Yet, you accomplish in getting there plus integrating with the Tribe as ONE. Your enthusiasm and interested in them have open up their heart and mind to accept you and it shows as the days progress in the show (the goodbye with Miriam – no doubts shows through). What a wonderful journey… wish I can be there.
    (How does it feel to curl up in a little huts in freezing temperature – I am guessing you are taller than 6 feet too – I am guessing you are loving your bed now)

  133. Marie Says:

    Hi Olly

    I have been watching “Living with the Mek” and just wanted to say thank you for bringing us all a program of real value. In a world full of so-called ‘reality’ TV it is refreshing to actually see real people in real situations not playing to the camera. But I’m not just talking about quality of entertainment. I don’t think most people realise the significance of cultures like the Mek, whose lifestyle predates the industrial revolutions of the developed world. It is part of human history that we tend to forget about, as if it were not natural, but your series shows just how natural it is.

    Our way of life is, slowly but surely, destroying the resources we depend upon, and is ultimately unsustainable – one could argue it is a failure from an evolutionary standpoint. Stripped of our technology the average Western individual has little or no real skills for survival. You talk about stepping back in time, but in the end it may well be people like the Mek, living sustainably, that will outlive our own civilisation and represent humankind in millennia to come.

    I would love to see more, and would love to know if the series is available to buy, especially since I missed the finale! :(

    The series has been not just fabulously entertaining, but educational and culturally important. You and Mark should be very proud of what you have achieved. Thank you so much!

  134. Natasha Says:

    After only a couple of minutes I was addicted to this show on the Travel Channel. I watched hours and hours straight. I really enjoyed the opportunity to see something very rare shared in an such an insightful way. I was so impressed with your dedication, bravery and caring ways.

  135. Cindy Says:

    Cool show.

  136. Fran Friel Says:


    I think Steph in the above comment said it better than I could, but I just want to thank you (and your mate, Mark) for a heart and soul filling opportunity. Watching your interaction and life with the Mek filled me with awe and gratitude. It’s the kind of experience that only television can provide, but it so sadly rare.

    Thank you again for a wonderful adventure.

    With Gratitude,
    Fran Friel

  137. Brenda Says:

    Both shows (Kombai and Mek) are amazing! I can’t wait for more…
    However I am sad about INOMAD “on hold” news just when I discovered the organization.
    I wish you another 7 great years for your life and projects.
    PS: Like Megan….we are all madly in love with you……….

  138. Jeanne Says:

    Olly~ I am so very grateful for the work you are doing. Yes, it makes for great TV but the primary cause of wanting to learn, share, document, etc. the cultures of this world that are vanishing (mainly in the name of religion) is to be commended! I, too, was distressed when you visited the village to buy pigs for your adopted families and saw western clothing. I hope that this “outlet” for your goal helps people to want to protect the rights of those who don’t wish for their ancient cultures to change even if we disagree. Perhaps there may be an exception or two such as with females having important bits of their genitalia being removed against their will. What I see are caring, loving people with the beautiful bodies that they were born with, taking and using what the Earth has provided them with and using those things in amazing ways with virtually no “carbon footprint”! We can all learn something from that…Thank you again. Namaste’, Jeanne

  139. Janet Says:

    Olly and Mark,
    You guys are wonderful and brave. Guys, I think you each have your own strengths in what you do and both are great! The Mek (merengmen) were will always remember you guys. Poor Olly, for some reason they thought that you were weak…but give it to Mark since he was a military man. Mark thanks for holding back some of your anger about the poor girl branded as a witch…she got your vibe and left before they could kill her…makes one wonder if she left or even, committed suicide somewhere in the forest. Olly, I must confess that you are attractive…Thank you guys!!

  140. Mike Huang Says:

    I found an interesting evidence that shows the connection between ancient Chinese culture and the living Africa tribes such as Mek and Kombai. The males in those tribes wear “pennis guard” which matches the one I found in Chinese characters. It is helpful to have more description on the “pennis guard”. How to get the pictures showing the pennis guard? The pictures will be used as the hard evidence to depict the connection.

  141. Christine Says:

    I just finished watching all your episodes (I had my husband record them all since I could not watch them when they aired). Amazing! Thank you for sharing your experiences and treating the Mek with such respect. It was by far one of the best television series I’ve seen and I am disappointed that there are not more.

    Many thanks!

    All The Best,
    Seattle, USA

  142. Samantha Says:

    Oh Olly,

    I’m so happy for you to be doing what you love to do. You are on your way to being the most famous reporter ever. I watched the video about China on YouTube. I left you a couple of messages there as well.

    I want to thank you for showing me other parts of the world that I don’t get to see everyday on the regular news. I can’t wait to see what you have coming up next.

    Your biggest fan,
    Arkansas, USA

  143. Eileen M. Loncar Says:

    I want to know if you guys are going back to visit your “tribe” family soon ??? Can I go??? I loved your episodes and would love the chance to meet the ppl and I am a stay at home Mom, but now the kids are grown and I am 45 and would love the emperience …. any chance of taking a female with you two guys??? I lived in Guam for 2years and would love the chance to be a part of something special before I die on this earth!!!!! thanks… eml Pennsylvania,USA

  144. Carmen Says:

    Wow, Olly! Look, just LOOK at all these people whose lives you have touched. Pretty amazing! Good for you. You (and Mark) are doing such a fantastic job. All of us who like to think that we would do the same, but in reality are actual wimps that like our cozy beds, heat, air conditioning and refrigeration, etc., owe you a debt of gratitude. We get to live (and learn) vicariously through you. That’s a real gift you’ve given us.
    I also think it (the popularity of the shows, that is) really speaks to the fact that most of us want so much more in life than what we actually end up dealing with most of the time…. work, house, finances, etc. We feel that because of what we “have” to do, that we are missing out on what really matters. People. Relationships. Our beautiful world. I think many of us long for something so much simpler than the world we currently live in, and maybe that’s part of the allure of these programs.

    As always, be safe and thank you for bringing us the world!

  145. lena Says:

    i found this show a complete inspiration to my ” photographer carrer” if thats possible i would really want to cover topics that most people want to hear about, going to wierd places is my specialty, and you topped it with this one. thanks for this show, so maybe in two years, after highschool, i’ll do what i want to do.

  146. Philyra Says:

    Keep up the good work.

  147. Ralph Says:

    Good Day. We are made to persist. That’s how we find out who we are.
    I am from Iran and too bad know English, give true I wrote the following sentence: “A resume has certain specific parts, but you should always highlight your unique qualities and talents.”

    :o Thanks in advance. Ralph.

  148. Shelby Says:

    olly! The only recommendation that i have is that maybe you guys should take a woman along! not that i think you are sexist, i would just like to know how the tribes would respond, and even how a woman would participate. I think it would add another dimension to the show. However, i do love it how it is; and you guys make me want to hop on a plane, then a boat, and then climb, to find adventure!!

  149. Ryan Says:


    Bro you are HOT!!!!!!!!!!!

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