Back to Africa: Local mom taking her children on medical trip

Contributed Photo/ Courtesy Joy Martin: Headed on a medical trip to Africa, Joy Martin and her family are ready to set out but want to fill their luggage with medical supplies first.

By Brooke Curley

THATCHER – One local mom wants to make the world a little better, and she’s bringing her children along to help her do it.

The plane tickets have been purchased, and with a clear destination ahead, local mom Joy Martin will be taking three of her four children with her to Africa on a medical trip lasting three weeks. Her husband will remain home with the youngest, and her father will also accompany her.

Contributed photo/Courtesy Joy Martin: The Martin children held a bake sale earlier in the week to raise money for medical supplies and basic necessities.

Martin works with Dr. Scott Smith in the Emergency Department in San Carlos and will be accompanying him and several other medical students. Their end destination is a small village on the border of  Kenya and Tanzania. Upon arrival, Martin, along with the small group of doctors, nurses, and students, as well as her three children, will set up a medical clinic. The entire group is working through an organization called Martin told Gila Valley Central that she had backpacked through Africa as a teen, fell in love with the continent and always wanted to return. However, she also wanted to bring her children. Now, the opportunity has arisen, and she and her children cannot be more excited.

Contributed Photo/Courtesy Joy Martin: A teenaged Joy Martin stands beside a tours billboard. Martin backpacked across Africa when she was a teenager.

“I’ve been looking for a group that I can volunteer with and include them,” Martin said. “I had planned on only taking my oldest, but I thought ‘what the heck I’ll take them all.’ It’s such a great opportunity. But my youngest actually doesn’t want to go. She’s afraid of lions. I backpacked through Africa when I was younger, and I loved it. There’s a big world out there and I want my kids to experience it, but most of all I want them to see the kids over there and gain perspective and appreciation for what they have. I’m hoping to light a spark in them.”

Martin and her children will leave Jan. 3, and she has already paid for the plane tickets. However, the cost of the flight is only a portion of the necessary funds. Martin is now collecting money to bring along as many medical supplies, toys, and books as they can. The money raised will also go toward paying their living expenses, and building a hospital in Kenya.

“We’re going to live out of a backpack and use our luggage for donated supplies,” Martin said. “I’m fundraising to help pay for our expenses there, medical supplies and, hopefully, we’ll earn a bit extra to go toward the building of the hospital there.”

Contributed Photo/Courtesy Joy Martin: This photo shows several of the locals Martin saw when she traveled Africa as a teenager. Martin spent three-and-a-half months crossing the Sahara, where she saw the old slave forts on the West African coast. She camped as she went.

Dr. Scott Smith travels several times a year to Kenya to help build a medical clinic and the Kilimanjaro Mission Hospital. In January, Smith will be taking Martin and her children, along with several other medical students and doctors with him. Martin is currently in a Family Nurse Practitioner program and will be accompanying the group to provide care as a Family Nurse Practitioner student.

“I am so excited to take part in this mission in even a small way,” she said. “The people in this area of Kenya (and much of Africa) do not have access to the medical care that we take for granted every day. In many parts of Africa, they lack clean water and electricity in their homes. Everywhere I traveled in Africa, I remember the people being happy regardless and willing to help me with whatever I needed and to offer me whatever they had. They are amazing.”

Contributed Photo/Courtesy Joy Martin: When Martin was 17, she graduated from high school a semester early and left from Europe with a group of overland travelers intending on traveling from Europe to Kenya via the entire continent.

Any extra money that Martin will acquire will be donated to the organization, to be put to use in building the clinic and hospital. At this point, the organization still needs roughly $20,000 to finish the clinic and $100,000 to finish the hospital.

“I am very excited that Dr. Smith is allowing me to bring my children with me on this adventure,” Martin said. “They will remember this forever. I am hoping they will come home with a greater appreciation for their world and a new found love of helping those less fortunate than themselves.”

Anyone interested in donating to help buy supplies, and aid in Martin’s living expenses while in Africa, may do so through the following:
Mail – 3031 W. Aguila Drive, Thatcher, AZ 85552
Paypal –
By Phone through Google Wallet – or 928-322-2589


Items that will be brought to Africa will include but are not limited to: Band-aids, gauze, OTC meds/ointments, Ace wraps, coloring books, pencils, notebooks, crayons, toothpaste, toothbrushes, floss, toys, and games.

For more information on visit its website at

About Mount Kilimanjaro Mission Hospital

Kilimanjaro Mission Hospital (KMS) will be one of the most modern and fully equipped hospitals in the Kimana Rift Valley.

The Kilimanjaro Mission Hospital will serve patients for 250 square miles and will serve more than half a million people who are in dire need of proper medical care.

Funds are still needed to execute our dream of providing this hospital to the many patients who will benefit.

Your generous contributions are welcome.

Mount Kilimanjaro Mission Hospital is dedicated to continuing the healing ministry of Christ.

Mount Kilimanjaro Mission Hospital is committed to:

• Providing quality health care to the community regardless of economic status, tribe, or religion.

• Providing excellent medical care in a safe environment, free of corruption and discrimination.

• Participating in the education of community health care workers.

• Expansion of services to meet the medical needs of the growing community.