2020 has probably been the strangest year in our lifetime. In the USA, the epicenter of COVID-19 pandemic is moving from the north-eastern states to the south-west and south-east, creating significant alarm in the greater Houston area. Now more than ever we need Ma Durga’s blessings to see us through these troubling times.
SEWA International of Houston has been doing a commendable job in lending a helping hand to affected families in the Greater Houston area. They have been organizing food drives, PPE drives, and have been operating a non-medical helpline (281)-909-SEWA. Houston Durgabari co-hosted a SEWA-HDBS Webinar on April 25 to talk about treatment avenues for COVID-19, from scientific concepts to evidence. Houston Durgabari has partnered with SEWA to make their services easily accessible to our community members.
With travel out of question, it is important that Durgabari provides solace to the grieving souls whose family members passed away. Starting May 1, Houston Durgabari started accepting in-person requests for last rites only. These pujas are being held under extremely strict safety guidelines. Online pujas are the new norm for all other personal puja needs. We hosted our First Online Musical Evening on May 16, featuring our very own Sharmistha and Subrata Kolay. It was our first online live performance offered to the community and brought us much needed musical relief during these troubled times.
In June, we partially re-opened the temple to devotees, after implementing strict safety guidelines and online contact tracking. Unfortunately, the re-opening only lasted three weeks, and we had to shut down again after the Harris county threat level was escalated. Meanwhile, we upgraded our e-news mechanism to Google suite and launched the Houston Durgabari YouTube channel. On June 27, for the first time, we live-streamed a major religious event, Bipattarini Puja on our YouTube and Facebook channels. The community received it very well. We had devotees not only from Houston, but from all over North America, tuning in, casting the YouTube streams to their wide screen televisions, and offering Anjali from their homes.
While we must be physically distant during the pandemic, it is more important than ever to stay socially connected, and we hope the enhancements to our virtual avenues will help you all to keep in touch. Please stay tuned and will try our best to bring the Durgabari experience to you as much as possible, during these difficult times. Like us on Facebook, subscribe to our YouTube channel, and visit our website at http://www.durgabari.org.
Stay home, stay safe, and may Ma Durga bless us all.
HDBS Executive Board