As residents of a small, U.S. territory, Guamanians may be far away, but crave the same products as those living in the mainland. So, receiving a package from the diaspora family full of goodies that aren’t available on Guam is a great thrill. However, in the month of August, a local mother, M.C., noticed great damage to her package from her family in California. Worried about theft, she went through the contents as her friend munched on an Atkins bar which was also from the box. “My Sterling rings were there, and my husband’s new shoes were there,” she said. “I got to the middle of the box and I noticed shredded cardboard. Then I saw the tortillas my sister sent, and it had huge rat bites on it.”
Rat priority mail
She believes that one or two rats destroyed her package. “My sister sent six tortillas and so three had been chewed up,” said M.C. “My sister sent 30 Atkins bar and there was only 17 left, including the ones my friend started eating. That means there’s some fat rat out there with diarrhea.” Since she’s also a cancer survivor, M.C. was also worried about her health. She contacted a nurse friend who suggested M.C. and their friend who ate the Atkins bar got tested for rabies.
M.C. talked to her post master at UOG Station who mentioned that her package was damaged when he got it at Barrigada. “If they really wanted to cover it up here, they could have said it’d been lost somewhere. He told me he felt obligated to give me my package in whatever condition it came. He said to meet with the postmistress at Barrigada. She didn’t think that it happened in Barrigada. She mentioned that they did have a rat problem, and someone reported that their box had small bites but that was months ago and that the rats were the size of cats. She suggested maybe the rat bites happened in cargo. We don’t know where it happened, could’ve been in storage on Guam or in Honolulu. She couldn’t really give me information. She didn’t even want to take my contact info.”
Rat health food?
Although M.C. contacted public health about the rat bites, they told her there was nothing they could really do since, unlike restaurants, post offices don’t require a health certificate to stay open. She even formally reported the damage online. As a mother and as a cancer survivor M.C. felt the need to inform the public about the situation. “Little kids like to play in cardboard boxes and people mail food all the time,” M.C. said. “I think I'm helping the public by raising awareness.”
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