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Bicycling Brothers Search America for Community Spirit

Photo provided by Noah and Tim Hussin
Photo provided by Noah and Tim Hussin

DOUG JOHNSON: Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC in VOA Special English.


I'm Doug Johnson. On our program this week, we play new music from Moby…

And we answer questions about getting a green card.

But, first, we take a road trip with two bicycling brothers who are searching for community spirit in America.


America Recycled

DOUG JOHNSON: Two American brothers are riding bicycles across the country in search of community. The brothers are documenting their experience through a blog, photographs and videos. And they say what they are finding is a desire for a return to community roots. Faith Lapidus has our story.

FAITH LAPIDUS: Noah and Tim Hussin have been on the road for more than six months. The brothers left the city of Asheville, North Carolina in early November. They have traveled more than sixteen hundred kilometers since then.

Noah lived overseas for three years. When he returned, he wanted to explore the United States.

Noah’s brother, Tim, is a photographer and filmmaker. He also loves riding bicycles. He saw a chance to combine those interests and create something with his brother.

Since November, the Hussins have met Americans living in eco-villages, where people share values and responsibility in caring for the environment. The brothers have also met people working a city farm and those operating sustainable businesses.

Tim Hussin makes clear that he and his brother are really sharing in the lives of the people they meet.

TIM HUSSIN: “You know, it’s not like we are staying nearby in a hotel or something, and just visiting every day or every other day. We are actually sleeping in their houses and eating breakfast with them. So, we have very much become a part of whatever we are documenting.”

Noah says their trip began at a bicycle cooperative in Asheville. Co-op members make bicycles from used parts.

NOAH HUSSIN: “We discovered this bicycle co-op. You can come in there and just sort through a whole garage of old parts and they’ll teach you how to basically build a bicycle from the scraps.”

The Hussin brothers made a video at the bicycle co-op. They wanted to show how some Americans are turning away from years of globalization. Noah Hussin says this happening all across the United States.

NOAH HUSSIN: “Small communities are falling apart, whether it’s towns that are losing their industry or whether it’s just people choosing the life in suburbs where there isn’t the cultural infrastructure to bring people together. We sense that a lot of people are kind of starting to lament that loss of community in this country.”

The first stop for the brothers was at an urban homestead. This is a place where the people who live there produce everything they need themselves. The Hussins made a short film about the place. The homesteaders talk about how their way of life gives them a chance to follow their creative interests, like music, sewing, cooking or building.


“Small community living has been lost in America. Families are much more isolated. Individuals are much more isolated. And I do think a lot is lost.”

“People living sad lonely existences. Why do we have to do that to ourselves? We don’t.”

Tim Hussin says this North Carolina community is not alone.

TIM HUSSIN: “We have found there are a lot of people creating spaces for people to live the lives they want to lead and not the lives they’ve been taught they should lead.”

The Hussin brothers are attempting to live sustainably during their travels. Noah Hussin says the people at the urban homestead taught them how to find food instead of buying it. Tim said there is plenty of free food out there if you know where to look.

TIM HUSSIN: “It blows my mind how much food grocery stores throw away.”

Tim Hussin says he and his brother are discovering ways of living that are very different from how they were raised in Florida.

TIM HUSSIN: “There are a lot of interesting communities that I had no idea existed. And a lot of people that are really passionate about changing the way that we live. It’s really exciting and inspiring to see all these communities working individually but also together as part of a larger movement.”

You can cyber travel with Tim and Noah Hussin at their web site America Recycled. A link can be found on our website,


Getting a Green Card

DOUG JOHNSON: Our question this week comes from two listeners. One in Mongolia and another in Nigeria want to know how to get a “green card” from the United States government.

A green card is an official document identifying a person as a permanent resident of the United States. It does not give citizenship to the card holder but permits him or her to live and work legally in the country.

There are many ways to get a green card and the process can take several years. One common way is through family members who have American citizenship. The United States gives special consideration to husbands, wives, children and parents of American citizens.

Example of a green card
Example of a green card

Green card holders can also nominate their husbands, wives and children for green cards.

A foreign citizen who has been offered a job in the United States can request a green card. The employer would serve as sponsor in that case.

There are also green card qualifiers for some non-citizens who invest in America, for refugees and asylum seekers.

Still all these paths leave out many people who want a green card. So, each year the United States carries out a lottery that provides about fifty thousand green cards to lucky winners. The official name of the lottery is the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program. It is meant to welcome more people from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.

The Department of State holds the lottery through its Kentucky Consular Center. Those interested can enter by completing a form and sending it in.

There are about twenty countries whose citizens are not permitted to take part in the green card lottery program. These include Canada, India, Pakistan and mainland China. Several Latin American countries are also barred. The lottery is open to all of Africa and Europe except for Poland and Britain.

There are also education and employment requirements.

About fifteen million people entered the lottery last year. But, the system proved itself to be far from perfect. At the beginning of May, American officials informed twenty-two thousand people that they had won the chance for a visa. Last Friday, however, the State Department said it was cancelling the results because of a computer problem.

The State Department now says the computer programming problem has been corrected. David Donahue supervises the Immigrant Diversity Program. He expressed regret for the incident. He said the results from a new drawing will be announced July fifteenth.

There are dishonest businesses that claim to be connected to the green card lottery. These operations, often found on the Internet, try to get money from people seeking a visa. The State Department website says no money is necessary to take part in the lottery program. It says if a cost is given, then the business requesting money is not connected to the Immigrant Diversity Program and should be avoided.




The electronic musician Moby has a new album. He wrote the songs while he was traveling and performing around the world. Moby has also published a book of photography to go along with the music on the album. He says both the pictures and the music are based on the many late nights he spent alone on tour in foreign cities. Moby's new album is called "Destroyed," and Mario Ritter tells us more about it.


MARIO RITTER: That was a song called “The Low Hum,” sung by Emily Zuzik. The sound is like most of the songs on “Destroyed” -- dreamy, sad and far-away.

Bicycling Brothers Search America for Community Spirit
Bicycling Brothers Search America for Community Spirit

Moby says this album was created on sleepless nights when he felt like the only person still awake in the cities where he stayed. He says feeling so alone was strange, but also comforting. Here is a song called “After.”


Moby's book of photos is also called “Destroyed.” The images show what life is like for a performer living on the road.

We leave you with Moby singing a song from his latest album. The song is called “The Day.”


DOUG JOHNSON: I’m Doug Johnson. Our program was written by Dana Demanger, JulieAnn McKellogg and Caty Weaver, who was also the producer.

Join us again next week for music and more on AMERICAN MOSAIC in VOA Special English.