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Hayes, at left, and a fellow Unsettled retreat participant kayak in the Atlantic Ocean near Cape Town.

From a young age, I’ve always had an acute understanding of mortality – that life could be snatched away at any moment. This oversized childhood fear was birthed from my family’s reality. By the time I was 13, my family would bury my grandfather, lose my vibrant 40-something-year-old aunt to cancer, and see my uncle pass away followed two years later by his son (my first cousin) – both as a result of commercial fishing accidents.

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Tahira Hayes

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