The hidden agenda behind a courteous reception often gives hope when no satisfactory resolution will be forthcoming. Pleasantries and small talk often hide a deep-seated bias against the person who, though hardly naive, nonetheless presents facts that may act as a trigger to unleash an obstruction that may prove to be insurmountable.
Before the Peace Corps or the N.G.O.'s, volunteers went to Africa to try to ameliorate the conditions under which Boer women and children suffered. For the most part volunteers either paid their way or were sponsored by established charities. The government resisted subsidizing them as they were thought to be too political and therefore disruptive of the government's approach.
The very narrow line between politics and charity is more often honored in the breach. An inadvertent crossing is forgivable; however accusing someone who adamantly respects the line, especially if the purveyor of charity is of the opposite political persuasion, taints the charitable effort. The result of such a political canard often means that those who would contribute to the relief of temporary displacement spurn the charity and thus deprive the unfortunates of needed succor.
War may be like a fever that rises to a crescendo as it runs its course. In that difficult process reputations as well as lives lay wasted as the juggernaut struggles toward its acme. When the fever breaks and the guns fall silent little thought is given by the warring factions to the months of agony just experienced by those who in the current parlance are collateral damage. One of those people so characterized was Emily Hobhouse, a woman whose only goal was to minimize the suffering of Boer women and children. Rather than succumbing to either depression or revenge she rose above being a victim to accept the accolades of a grateful people, not in her own country but in the war torn region of South Africa.