The roads are long and often mountainous, but 83-year-old Ekaterina Dzalaeva-Otaraeva walks them several days a week. As the postwoman for the remote North Ossetian village of Tsey in Russia, she treks 25 to 30 miles round-trip on foot on her delivery route.
Dzalaeva-Otaraeva has been handing out mail for 50 years. She was inspired as a child by the local postman who brought news from the front during World War II, she tells Russian news outlet Ruptly. (The video above is in Russian, which is why we've included a second video in English below.)
"When I was a little girl, one senior man worked as a postman. And all the people were waiting for him. It was during the war. And I was among those who ran towards him," she said.
She said she hoped to be able to bring letters home to her family from her brother because she knew that would make them happy.
Ruptly says Dzalaeva-Otaraeva quit school to cut hay because there was no one else who was able to do it.
"Then I noticed that there was no postman at the post office. I asked the manager to employ me. He asked me if I was able to work. And I said that I would try to," she said.
In a video interview with Reuters, Dzalaeva-Otaraeva says, "My salary isn't that big, but it helps me. I find it easier when I'm walking."
She is often greeted by hugs and enjoys talking with familiar friends she meets along her route.
"I find it easier when I chat to people," she says. "I've experienced a lot of sorrow, and I think about it when I'm doing nothing and it's difficult for me. But when I leave home, it's easier."