The Green Card: Ticket to a Life in America Among the 300 million people living in America are hundreds of thousands who won green cards through a lottery run by the State Department. Lois Wamaitha of Kenya and Hiroaki Honshuku of Japan both received green cards through the program.
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The Green Card: Ticket to a Life in America

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The Green Card: Ticket to a Life in America

The Green Card: Ticket to a Life in America

The Green Card: Ticket to a Life in America

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Kenyan Lois Wamaitha says she never dreamed she would be able to live in the United States. She received a green card in 1997. Andrea Hsu, NPR hide caption

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Andrea Hsu, NPR

Jazz musician Hiroaki Honshuku of Japan received his green card in 1991. A music teacher told him he'd never be able to play American heritage jazz. It compelled him to compose his own music. Courtesy Hiroaki Honshuku hide caption

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Courtesy Hiroaki Honshuku

Among the 300 million people living in America are hundreds of thousands who won green cards through a lottery run by the State Department.

Lois Wamaitha of Kenya and Hiroaki Honshuku of Japan both received green cards through the program, officially known as the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program.

Honshuku, a jazz flutist, came to the United States in 1987 and received a green card in 1991.

He remembers going to see tenor saxophonist George Garzon his first week in America.

"I always had the thought I wanted to come here to experience the music I like," Honshuku says. "I was blown away. It was something I'd never experienced in my life."

Wamaitha came to the United States in 1997.

Coming to America is the dream of many people, she says. "I'd always thought about it but never dreamed it would happen to me."

Wamaitha, who had been a teacher in Kenya, worked as a babysitter when she first arrived in the United States. She now is studying to be a lawyer.

They talk about their lives here, and what America means to them.