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I am writing this brief reflection sitting with my fiancée, my cousin and her family. My fiancée and I decided to join my cousin and her family on the eve of New Year 2020. We have not started the celebration just yet, but I can see lots of special dishes and coffee celebrations being prepared. I can also see my nephews and niece excited to open their gifts. I believe one or two friends will also join us a little bit later, perhaps after I have finished writing this short reflection.

Last year was super busy with lots of readings to do and a literature review to write. In my judgement, I have progressed very well in my PhD work; I drafted my literature review and have already started my fieldwork. The PhD programme has offered me enough time to reflect on not only my journey as a refugee but also the plight of Eritrean refugees. Every single participant I have conducted interviews with has been telling harrowing stories of trafficking, detention and deportation. So far, listening to these tragic stories and not being able to do anything about them has been the most difficult part of my research.

Every single participant I have conducted interviews with has been telling harrowing stories of trafficking, detention and deportation. So far, listening to these tragic stories and not being able to do anything about them has been the most difficult part of my research.

I had planned to go to Egypt for a field study in December of last year, but could not because of visa delays. Luckily, I have now got a visa and will travel in four days’ time to Cairo for fieldwork. I am also looking forward to meeting my former friends and colleagues. It will be a privilege to work with them again, even though it will be for only six weeks.

Oh, the friends we have been waiting for have just come. It is now time for celebration and joy.

Happy New Year!

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