This is a story of how serendipitous fate can be sometimes. Last week as we were on our way to clinic, our car slowed down just enough for Dr. Woodrum, a visiting doctor from the US, to notice some flowers growing on the side of the road. They were pretty little purple and white flowers, and Dr. Woodrum immediately decided they would add a pleasant touch to the Burkitt’s lymphoma center down the street from our hostel. So the next day as we headed out to clinic, we also brought some gardening tools to uproot the flowers.
When Dr. Kawira, the resident doctor of Shirati, saw the flowers, she remarked how much they looked like Periwinkles. Sure enough, these flowers turned out to be Periwinkles, which is scientifically called Vinca major. Vinca major is the same flower from which the drug Vincristine is derived. Vincristine is a broad chemotherapy drug and is used in the treatment of Burkitt’s lymphoma. I couldn’t help but marvel at how appropriate it was that Dr. Woodrum, without knowing it, planted Vinca flowers for the Burkitt’s lymphoma center.