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kenya smallIt seems that many stairs in Kenya are built somewhat haphazardly and don't adhere to a general ruel. As a result, I had to learn how to climb stairs twice.

First of all, going up stairs is no problem for me. What I have difficulty with is going down: I have a hard time judging where the first step begins and how high it is. If I'm not careful, I make a misstep and risk staggering down the stairs. From there it is not far to the fall.

In Kenya, the steps of different staircases have different heights. And within the same staircase there can be also differences: Often the lowest step is higher or lower than the rest, probably because it didn't quite add up when it was built. Or in the middle, one or two steps are lower. Sometimes the height varies according to the landing: there was this conference room on the first floor, which was reached by three flights of stairs. The steps in the lowest section still felt normally high, in the second they were noticeably lower and in the third only about half as high as in the first. Perhaps this is so that the guest does not have to lift his feet so much the higher he climbs, making the ascent less tireing?

In addition to the different heights, the stairs are often not very well lit and the steps are not marked clearly enough, for example with a white line.

Well, on my holiday home over Christmas, I have noticed that I walk down the stairs in Switzerland the Kenyan way: Carefully, step by step, always being prepared for the height to fluctuate, or for another unexpected step to be added somewhere. My eyes were always fixed on the ground in front of me. Now, in Switzerland, that is not necessary: Once I have conquered the first step, I can be sure that it will continue like this until the end of the stairs. It's enough if I briefly glance over the entire staircase, my feet will then know what to do. I felt as if I had to relearn how to go down stairs again.

This article is part of the series "Stargardt in Africa".