The story of “Romans 8:1”
– as told by Korky and Anni Davey of Open Air Campaigners GB.
David never knew his father, and was brought up with other brothers and sisters by his mother on a
little smallholding about 40 miles from Kampala, Uganda. When he was about 9 years old (he isn’t quite sure of his age) his mother and siblings all died of a virulent form of malaria in the space of one week. The villagers helped him to bury them on the land near the house, but none of them could take him in as they already had too many mouths to feed. Remembering his school had taught him “Trust Jesus”, he decided to walk to Kampala to find some means of surviving. Several days later he reached this sprawling filthy city, and soon met other street kids: they showed him the best places to sleep and hide, and a source of good food – the skip at the back of the Sheraton Hotel where the wealthy tourists stay!
They heard that Idi Amin’s soldiers were rounding up street children to take them to work on his sugar plantations, virtually as slave labour. David did not want to be rounded up. Christian-run businesses in Uganda usually advertise the fact and he liked cars, so he knocked on the door of “THE JESUS GARAGE” and a very large man came out, surprised to see the little lad there. David remembers standing on tiptoe to try and look big, and asking him for a job. Taking pity on him, the man said he could be the sweeper up, and gave him an old car to sleep in – his first home for a long time! By the age of 19 he became a proficient mechanic, specialising in steering alignment, a very necessary skill when you know the state of the roads there which are mainly pot-holes surrounded by some tarmac. He became a Christian through the example and care of the garage owner who had taken him in, and took the name Romans 8:1 as nobody could condemn him any more for not having a father (still a big slur in Uganda). His first pay packet went to rent a shack and adopt 6 street boys. He met and married Sarah, a delightful and very intelligent lady, and they had 7 children over the years (now 8, as Frank Trinity was born in February 2004).
They adopted a further 9, making 15 adopted in all, and realised they needed schooling. They never knew how they could feed them all, but have never starved. People heard about them and food or money arrives just when it is needed. A sort of modern George Muller. After training and ordination, he became the Evangelist for Central Buganda Diocese, which was how we met him.
First Sarah and David started a nursery chool for their own children, then included other local children. Then they needed a primary school, of which they now have two, and then a Secondary school, so they started Centenary High School. They are now caring for and educating over 2000 children, a large percentage of whom are orphans (about 400 in 2005). Each year they expect about 30-40 children to be orphaned, and they do not turn them out when the chool fees stop coming, but make more bunk beds and somehow manage to keep them. It costs £5 per month per child or £50 per term including other expenses like mattress, books etc.
David was told the Government would confiscate his schools as he did not have a degree. He found a sponsor in the USA and in 2004 completed a degree in Applied Theology at Redcliffe College in Gloucester. A man of utmost integrity and entrepreneurial excellence, he organises our O.A.C. seminars beautifully and seems to know all the Bishops and everyone of importance who can help ….. He is Director of Open Air Campaigners in Uganda, and will continue to train Sunday School teachers, Head Teachers, clergy and Lay Readers in the simple but effective methods of communication we use. He also has a couple more small businesses – like showing live premier football at the school and charging 30p (£1)a head to the locals – very popular and profitable! Currently building the“Double Cure” Medical Centre. Definitely a man worth helping…….