By Ismail Abdulaziz
As over 10,700 Nigerian pilgrims converged on the city of Madinah in Saudi Arabia, shopping has become fun with the use of calculators.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the calculator has reduced the language barrier between pilgrims coming to the city worldwide who could not speak Arabic and resident shop owners.
Few Nigerians were able to quickly pick up the word “kam”, which means how much, to start the shopping conversation.
An FCT pilgrim, Hajiya Na’ima Kassim, told NAN that the experience was fascinating.
“Once I see what I want in a shop, I just walk up to the counter to present to the shop-owner. It’s mostly in the street shops that we do this.
“It’s fascinating because it saves you from unnecessary haggling, raising of voice that may lead to temper loss which is not encouraged during the entire Hajj.
“Now we have taxi drivers taking us to malls free where prices are displayed and you pick what you can afford,” she said.
Alhaji Yukubu Usman, a pilgrim from Bauchi, told NAN that using calculator to know the amount charged for goods by the mostly Arabic speaking shop owners has been a delight.
He said that it was not easy at first, especially when one wants to know the exact price of goods, adding that the calculator was always handy.
“When the shop owner presses the amount you are not comfortable with, you press the amount you want to offer and finally you strike a deal,” he said.
The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), on its part, has cautioned pilgrims to patronise only genuine bureau de change operators to change their money to avoid being short changed.
In a video clip, the commission explained the process of changing money and the amount to be given in Saudi riyals.
In the clip, they showed the amount to exchange for a 100 dollar bill and any lesser denomination, to guide the pilgrims.
The video was shared to house coordinators in Madinah to ensure proper dissemination among pilgrims.
Meanwhile, pilgrims have continued to leave Madinah for Makkah on the second leg of the Hajj rites.
A total of 3,073 Nigerian pilgrims are now in Makkah while 7,224 are still in Madinah as at Wednesday.
Those that left for Makkah have performed the first leg of the rites which is the lesser Hajj.
Most of the Nigerian pilgrims came in through Madinah while a few came in through the Jeddah Airport.(NAN)
Edited by Maharazu Ahmed/Sadiya Hamza