Marc Silver

Ruhy Patel, 17, lives in Doylestown, Pa. When she was 15 she was planning to run for student council office. "All the other people running were boys," she says, "and people were like, 'Well, you're not going to win.' You feel intimidated because you're the only girl in the room. It makes you question if you'd be OK in the field of politics."

Did she drop out? No.

Did she win? "I did!"

"I feel like it kind of makes you want to try harder when people say no," says Patel.

She was only 15 minutes late. That's amazing! After all, she is the first lady of the United States. She has a busy schedule. She was scheduled to speak to the Girl Up Leadership Summit at 11:15 a.m. And by 11:27ish she was in the house.

"You all look amazing," Michelle Obama told the 200-plus activists who represent some of the world's 1,000 Girl Up clubs. They'd come to Washington, D.C., to bond, to learn about girls' issues and to lobby Congress.

Update: New time is 1 p.m. ET

What's life like for a 15-year-old girl in Zambia? In Brazil? In Nepal? In the United States?

Starting this fall, NPR will be looking at the lives of 15-year-old girls: the challenges they face, the rules they break, the advice they'd give to a little sister.

What do you lose when one of the world's languages disappears?

Maybe it's a word that has two meanings — and the double meaning gives you a different way of thinking about things.

Like the word iya. In the endangered Latin American language of Kukama, it means "heart." But it also means "fruit."

Their gourds tell a story — and earn them a living. That gourd in the photo — the one on the left? It is covered with miniature pictures of a potato harvest in Peru. There's even a wee burro hauling the day's crop.

That gourd will sell for around $800.

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