Bus Breakdown: More Malawi Time Adjustments

By Barbara Hunting

Cape Maclear sunset

Cape Maclear sunset

Part of experiential learning is adjusting to a different way of ‘doing’ things. As a group, we take excursions on the weekend(s) outside of the rural village where we work on our various experiential learning projects.  Yesterday while driving back from Cap Maclear, our bus broke down—oh yes, life happens here too!  The bus broke down at approximately 1:30 p.m. As it coasted to a stop; this was ‘the unexpected’ part of the trip.  After much discussion and some people trying different ways to get the bus going again, the driver made a phone call to his company and was told that we could expect a replacement bus in three hours.  Six and half hours later, 8 p.m. we were on the road again (remember Malawi time). Luckily, one of the Professors had bought 2 huge bunches of bananas to take back to the village for us and people had water for drinking.  As well, as luck would have it, we broke down on a straight-a-way near a bore-hole (well with pump).

Half of us went across the road to sit under the shade of a tree; some climbed the tree!  Others read and journaled and had curriculum development discussions (the importance of play or the development of the space in a classroom). I have a colleague who has studied this aspect of classroom development known as ‘the third space’ where you can develop changeable spaces using readily available toys, or using big boxes to create theaters for puppet shows and these can change every two-three weeks, depending on your focus. Time slipped away quite quickly, it got quite chilly and the mosquitoes were hungry after dark—the bug spray and sweaters came out of our luggage.

Our breakdown was a positive space of learning about our patience barometer.  We are learning more about waiting; there is no CAA (Canadian Automobile Association) in Malawi.  As it turned out, the bus was fixed within forty minutes; it was an electrical problem. We boarded another bus and were on our way back to Makupo Village at 8:05 p.m.

Now, I have left out many adventures of this day but I am sure that the students will blog about their Sunday afternoon adventure! (I have limited pictures to share for this blog as my camera is malfunctioning and I only brought one on the weekend trip) I enclose one sunset picture taken at Lake Malawi on Saturday evening; enjoy!

Signing off for now!

Barbara Hunting (BaaBlah)

1 thought on “Bus Breakdown: More Malawi Time Adjustments

  1. Susan van Gelder

    As you so beautifully point out, experiential learning isn’t only about doing and living the things you expected but about living the many moments when things don’t go as expected. From your description and those of others, it is obvious that the bus breakdown ultimately became a bonding experience as each person had to muster their resources to make the best of the situation. Whether it is strange food, insects, a different notion of time or whatever, the experience is a powerful reminder to listen, to watch, to respect and to examine our own lives.


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