Celebrating Mexican construction workers on día de la Santa Cruz

Sheilamary Koch
4 min readMay 4, 2021

“What’s this Shey? Since when have you gotten all ranchero?”

My older daughter, Marisol walks in right after I launch my first blog post that linked to the recent Christian Nodal duet and catches me listening to his music that YouTube has continued on playing. Before she mentioned his name a few weeks ago, I’d never heard of him. Yet now as YouTube pays his hits, I realized I’ve been listening to him and his questionable lyrics for quite some time, practically on a daily basis. His music is popular in Barrio Cinco. Not only do neighbors play it, so do the guys who come to work in our neighborhood, building up all the vacant lots with new multi-unit dwellings. Los abaniles. Official translation is masons, but I say builders or construction workers.

And today is their day. May 3rd, el Día de la Santa Cruz. Day of the Holy Cross.

This afternoon, I had to ask one of the workers across the street to move his pickup truck from behind my car as they were having lunch on a pile of cinder blocks. I wished them a happy patron saint day or gave them “los felicitaciones” adding something like, “So aren’t you celebrating?” They responded “Well, no, we don’t drink,” I told them in a tone of approval that that sounded healthier and that I’d expecting more “reventon” which would be like revelry or celebration around the neighborhood today, to which one guy pointed up “Hay esta la cruz” indicating the cross they’d put up on the house they’re building. It was a very humble wooden cross stuck in the rebar up there.

So yeah in my years here and through my involvement in the building of three houses, I’ve learned to be friendly with workers. But not too friendly and not out of context.

Just a couple of months ago, I was pondering Mexican construction workers and context.

I’d just came downstairs mid-morning with a load of dirty clothes to wash and was surprised to see my daughter with a friend coming out of the kitchen. She’d left for school a couple of hours before so seeing her here was clearly out of context. She and her friend laughed at my surprised expression that must have been on my face.

“Oh we’re just here for the mixer,” says my daughter and heads out the gate with her…

Sheilamary Koch

Artist-educator passionate about equity, gender, conservation, creativity, mindfulness and breaking barriers for under-represented groups-especially girls!