Upon finishing up the consultation at SEMISUD, Steve Bartell and I went treasure hunting. We visited the

document sample
document sample

national archive of history here in Quito. I was tipped off by a journal article describing the possibility that children lived on the streets of the city. This was indeed confirmed! Several historical court cases focus on defending street-dwelling children. They prove that governemnt authorities were perplexed as to what to do with the youth they witnessed on the street.This is no small find. I also read far more cases dealing child abuse and negligence. In the Audiencia of Quito, historical court cases reveal a lot about issues of missing and abandoned children. In one case, a youth by the name of Roque de Soria, an orphaned mestizo boy was documented as wandering through the northern areas of the Audiencia, looking for wood, food, and looking to family members in the area for help (AN/Q Pobreza, 10 October 1678). Several cases of of youth were mentioned in the documents I found. These are only intial findings, but the documents are a key find and are certainly some of the earliest ones I have personally read. It has not been easy reading, given the type of writing used. I probably have several months ahead of deciphering the letters, but it proves to be very intriguing to say the least!

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