When we arrived in Melilla, a minuscule Spanish Enclave in Morocco, we were overwhelmed by the stories the Migrants and Refugees told us about their journeys. They had to deal with the scorching African sun, with smugglers, robbers, and terrorists, risking their lives just to step on European territory.

Melilla is a forgotten place, only seen in headlines around the world when a swarm of Africans makes it through its razor-sharp 6-meter fence. After a long, arduous trip into Europe, they were faced with a dreadful wait in the Center for Temporary Stay of Migrants, with no guarantees that their asylum petitions would be granted. They were stuck in between two worlds, in a kind of purgatory. Stuck between the memories of their former lives and the dreams and yearnings of what is to come. 

These were ordinary men and women. Fishermen, college students, cooks and athletes who all shared one trait. A will to live, to come out on top in the face of hardships that often goes untold in traditional media.  We as young journalists were saturated by the way refugees are portrayed, rarely given a voice of their own.  So we decided to ask them "What gives you hope?" and gave them a disposable camera so they could document it.  With the disposable camera, the visual narrative was their own. It was a way of sharing their worldview in an intimate way.

Their names have been omitted at their request. 

This story was published in El Pais.

A project by Gonçalo Fonseca and Maria Contreras Coll