Bonn · While others sleep, they bring the newspapers. And sometimes they have to face men in their underwear standing in front of them. Read all about what GA delivery staff experience in the early hours of (almost) every morning.
Hennig Derpa used to publish a newspaper, today he delivers one. The magazine that dealt with Japan had a thousand subscribers. In the 90s he had to give it up. Japan had already interested him as a teenager. Then in 1964 he set off for the Olympic Games: Via Turkey he hitchhiked all the way to Tokyo, where the competition was held that year. "When I got there, it felt a bit like home," says the 79-year-old. "The country fascinated me a lot."
Six years ago, he saw an ad looking for delivery people and felt that that could be his kind of thing. Since then, he usually sets off on his round through Ippendorf between 3 and 4 o'clock. He's using it to supplement his pension. "But I also have the feeling that it's good for me," says Derpa. "Otherwise I would drift through the day. Being a pensioner would be a nightmare for me." He likes to be out in the morning – especially in summer. The singing of the birds is sometimes like music.
Now and then he meets drunk adolescents on his rounds. "They think it's really weird that someone is delivering the paper at this time of day," he says. He is not afraid of being attacked at night. He has been doing Aikido for 50 years, even today he still trains in the Japanese martial arts twice a week. Hennig Derpa has a black belt.
Once a man in underpants stood in front of Sabine Schumacher when she delivered the newspaper. He wanted to let his dog out in the morning and hadn't expected the delivery woman. Before she started delivering newspapers in 2013, Sabine Schumacher had worked in a supermarket. "The best thing about the delivery job is that there are no annoying colleagues," says the 54-year-old. In return, many animals keep her company. "I've seen deer, badgers, martens, foxes and squirrels," she says.
At night she is the sole ruler of the street when she puts the newspapers in the mailboxes in Gielsdorf. And there's another good thing about the job. "I finish early and have the whole day to spend with my hobbies." Like the horse she takes care of with her daughter. She's used to getting up early. It's just hard to adjust after a vacation. She likes to work in the winter, when it's particularly quiet. She likes the snow. Then she sometimes wears ski pants – the main thing is not to get freezing cold. In general, she is always well prepared for the weather and always has two rain jackets with her. In total she owns four.
Wolfgang Medved delivers newspapers in solidarity with his partner. "I can't leave him doing that job and enjoy myself on my own," says the 71-year-old. That's why he started as a delivery man nine years ago. About the same time as his partner, to whom he has now been married for two years. "I do this so that I don't sit around at home in the morning," says Medved.
But there are certainly other nice places where he could go to enjoy life. His boat, for instance, which is anchored in Monnickendam. The small town north of Amsterdam lies on the Markermeer. From here Medved explores the Ijsselmeer and the islands of the North Sea. He discovered sailing as a boy. Later he also took part in World and European championships - and competed a few times at the Kieler Woche.
Until his retirement he had a business with branches in Bonn and Hamburg. He and his ten employees specialised in cleaning and renovating listed facades. They worked on the Hamburg Landungsbrücken and the old Elbtunnel. "Today I no longer bear responsibility for others," says Medved. "Today I am only responsible for myself."
Original text: Dennis Scherer
Translation: Mareike Graepel