Andreas Zylla geht auf dem Bürgersteig an einem Haus vorbei. Er zieht einen Rollwagen hinter sich her. In der linken Hand hält er eine Zeitschrift.

Close to people | Stories from Bethel

The post also comes when it rains

A well-known rule of thumb says that you should walk 10,000 steps a day for the sake of your health. Andreas Zylla easily cracks this mark. Whatever the weather, the employee of the courier service ("Botenmeisterei") in the village of Bethel is out and about distributing post and books, parish newsletters, magazines and daily newspapers. "I no longer need a fitness programme after work," says the 64-year-old. The exercise in the fresh air is good for him, but it is physically demanding. Especially on hot days, the errands are a strain on him. Rain, on the other hand, doesn't bother him as much. "That's what the right clothes are for." His favourite time of year is spring with its mild temperatures.

People with disabilities find meaningful and responsible work in the Botenmeisterei. They carefully sort Bethel's internal mail by hand and deliver it to organisations and households. When the freshly printed RING magazines arrive, the historic "Old Post" building is always a hive of activity: the magazines have to be quickly distributed and delivered to the 14 districts in Bethel and Eckardtsheim. "My main district covers around 260 households," explains Andreas Zylla as he loads up his trolley with the latest issues. So there's a lot to do: The magazines should be in the letterboxes by the first of the month at the latest, he claims. "Andreas Zylla is very hard-working and conscientious. He is highly motivated to work," praises his supply employee Dieter Patrzek.

"Nobody has to rush here, everyone has their own pace."
Andreas Zylla

Andreas Zylla works his way along the long Karl-Siebold-Weg at a steady pace, house by house. It takes him about three hours to complete the distribution. He enjoys the peace and quiet on his morning round. Every now and then someone calls out a friendly "hello" to him. They know each other - at least by sight. The man from Bielefeld has been part of the delivery team for four years. Before that, he had worked in a paint shop for 40 years. "In my job, I could no longer cope physically and mentally with the high pressure to perform," he says, looking back. Andreas Zylla was treated at the Clinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at the Evangelical Hospital Bethel. It was there that he was made aware of the wide range of employment programmes for people with mental illnesses at Bethel. This was because he felt he had been sidelined by his reduced earning capacity pension. "I always wanted to work," he emphasises. He is all the more grateful for his job today. "Nobody has to rush here, everyone has their own pace."

Andreas Zylla reaches into a mailbox.
Several trolleys
Andreas Zylla on his errand round in the village.

Andreas Zylla still remembers the first time he met Dieter Patrzek. He was just getting a taste of different areas of work when his current reference employee said to him: "You would fit in really well here!" He was very touched and encouraged by this sentence at the time. "At first, I had doubts as to whether I could do it at all and whether I would be able to memorise everything," he admits. Completely unfounded - after a short familiarisation period, he mastered his route like a pro. The currently oldest messenger is not thinking about quitting yet. He would like to continue as long as he is fit; or until he reaches the age limit at 67. For now, however, he is looking forward to the warm spring days.

Text: Christina Heitkämper | Picture: Christian Weische

This story simply told

Andreas Zylla works at Bethel's courier service "Botenmeisterei". People with disabilities find meaningful work there. They sort mail from Bethel and distribute it. Andreas Zylla is responsible for around 260 households in the village. The 64-year-old would like to continue working as long as he is fit.

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Incoming mail is sorted by hand according to facilities and post boxes in the Bethel courier centre "Botenmeisterei". Post and books, daily newspapers, magazines and parish newsletters are delivered by messengers on foot or by public transport in the Bielefeld towns of Bethel and Eckardtsheim. People with disabilities find meaningful employment in the Bethel Botenmeisterei.

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