Monday, May 2, 2011

John Kleive Departs Samoa

April 29, 2011

John, a former teacher, sailor, French welding supply company employee, motorcyclist, storyteller, and Samoan Peace Corps Volunteer from Ely, Minnesota is packing his bags for good.

John came to Samoa in October, 2007 as a welding instructor at Don Bosco, a Catholic school for boys in Apia. John’s experience and background far exceeded the resources of the school, so John did what comes quite naturally to him, got a welding distributor friend of his from Las Vegas to donate thousands of dollars’ worth of welding equipment.

Even before his permanent assignment at Don Bosco, a member of his host family in his training village named a baby after John’s deceased daughter. John promptly set up a fund for her later education.

John’s love of the Samoan lifestyle, his association with the Brothers at Don Bosco, the contribution he was making to the welding program, and the relative luxuries of his house, all went into his decision to extend a third year with Peace Corps.

John was not yet done. The Administration at Don Bosco said he could continue to stay and teach outside of Peace Corps from October to May with full benefits, even though the Samoan school year is from February to November. This was almost too good to be true. Now John could live on his boat at Superior, Wisconsin, during the Minnesota summer, and spend winters in Samoa.. He took them up on their offer and pictured the rest of his life spending life as all those who toil dream, even now with a car. Alas, personalities at Don Bosco changed and with that the failure of them to offer John another year teaching and his apartment.

Now John is packed to leave Samoa, maybe for the last time this Monday, May 2nd. There is one last meal at Samoa’s Yacht Club where John has a table reserved for him every Friday night of meeting friends. No longer are the many world-wide contacts he spends hours talking to over Syke going to get his calls from Samoa.

For me, John’s leaving for Las Vegas in May to pick up his stored Harley Davidson motorcycle the hit the road visiting friends and children along the way, including Mary, is expected. The emptiness I feel is not that I may not see John again, for we are planning a trip to The Gambia in Africa this September, but knowing that for him his Samoan adventure is completed. What awaits now is maybe a new motorcycle and I am sure more new stories to tell.

He leaves with a new Samoan wristband tattoo and a smiley face tatoo on his ass. I know Samoa and Don Bosco will miss him.

One of John's favorite activities, sitting at his bedroom desk talking over Skype to friends around the world.

John and I enjoying our Last Supper at the Yatch Club overlooking Apia Harbor.

1 comment:

bigchainring said...

Hi Nick. I enjoy your continued adventures in Samoa. I miss John too. take care.. matt(79)