A Striking Encounter with an “Ordinary” Town
It all started when Yamashita visited Bethel, located in western Germany in 2009. Bethel has a population of about 20,000 and around 40 percent of the residents have epilepsy or other disabilities. It is a place where anyone, healthy or ill, disabled or not, can equally lead a “normal” life with dignity.
When Yamashita met Pastor Ulrich Paul, chairman of the v. Bodelschwingh Foundation Bethel, he was asked, “Mr. Yamashita, do you think you are a ‘perfect’ human being? What is the difference between you and a person with disabilities? You might find your ideal town in Bethel. Please come and visit us.”
Six months later, Yamashita went to Bethel and visited various facilities during his two-day stay. He was extremely impressed to see many people with disabilities and elderly at work eveywhere in the community, not being treated differently.
Yamashita did find his ideal town in Bethel.