GARDEN ROUTE NEWS - "This will probably come as a surprise to everyone, but I'm terrified of water," said National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) NSRI crew member volunteer Alicha Janse van Rensburg.
"Since I was little, I have been scared of the water and when I say water, I mean all bodies of water, including the ocean, rivers, dams, swimming pools."
Janse van Rensburg recounts that she has almost drowned her father twice while out snorkelling.
"Since I started diving in 2014, I have been working on this fear," she continued.
"When I joined Sea Rescue I learned to control the fear. I feel like I have mostly overcome this fear. I still sometimes get scared, then I tell myself someone else needs me more than I fear water. Then I get the courage and go again."
She believes her fear of the water came from being knocked over by a big wave as a small girl but this hasn't stopped this 22 year old from immersing herself in the operations of the NSRI, which is dedicated to saving lives on South African waters, both coastal and inland.
Dark period in her life
She is a horse trainer and graphic designer and is studying to become an online English teacher, but her heart lies with the NSRI, which she credits for saving her during a dark period in her life.
"I was going through a pretty bad time in my life and started feeling like nothing I do matters to anyone and that I will never be able to make a difference for anyone," she said.
She had befriended an NSRI volunteer in late 2017 who had told her about the volunteer organisation.
"Then one night I saw the NSRI advert on the TV and decided that it is a sign that this is where I belong. The rest is history."
She further puts her NSRI experiences to good use by teaching small groups, including school children, about water safety.
For a shy someone with a fear of water, the NSRI has been the perfect home for Alicha Janse van Rensburg.
When asked to comment on the youth of South Africa, Janse van Rensburg said, "We should be kinder to each other and work together to build each other up. No matter our age, gender, race and nationality, we are all trying to better ourselves and be part of a better South Africa, and therefore we should be helping each other to reach our common goals."
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