Afghanistan produces about half the power it currently uses and imports the other half from neighboring countries. But that total still doesn't meet the country's demands. This photo shows Kabul at night in January.
Credit Bay Ismoyo / AFP/Getty Images
Only about one-third of Afghans have access to a reliable power supply.
Credit Sean Carberry / NPR
The Omid Plastic Making Factory in Kabul manufactures plastic bags. Even though the industrial park where it's located was supposed to guarantee full power, the factory often relies on a generator. "There is no industrial power for us. We are using the same power as normal people," says factory manager Abdul Qadida Sozai.
Credit Sean Carberry / NPR
This welding shop in Kabul relies on a generator because the city power supply isn't reliable or powerful enough for the equipment.
Afghanistan desperately needs to jump-start its economy if it hopes to stand on its own after NATO's drawdown in 2014. But there's a major constraint for a country trying to build a modern economy: electricity shortages.
Afghanistan ranks among the countries with the lowest electricity production per capita in the world. Despite billions of dollars in projects over the past decade, at best one-third of the population has access to regular power.
Deacon Mark Coudrain, bottom left, Rev. Charles Benoit, top left, Abbot Justin Brown, top right, and attorney Evans Schmidt carry a casket built by Benedictine monks down the steps of the U.S. federal district courthouse on Aug. 12, 2010.
Credit Patrick Semansky / AP
Benedictine Brother Brian Harrington (left) and novice Dustin Bernard pull a casket handle from a press in a workshop at St. Joseph Abbey in Covington, La.
"We had two shows that night," says Bobby Womack, recounting a recent concert in Houston. "It was a small theater, about 5- or 6,000 people. The second show, I was just out of it; they had to take me to the hospital."
It was a serious scare for the 68-year-old singer-songwriter — who has also lived through drug addiction and the deaths of two sons — and it didn't end that night.
Fraser and Marian Shields Robinson raised their children, Craig and Michelle, in Chicago, but their family's ancestry can be traced back to pre-abolition Georgia.
Credit Barack Obama Campaign
The Shield and Robinson lines met in 1959 in Chicago, where Fraser and Marian Shields Robinson married and raised their children, Craig and Michelle.
Credit Courtesy of Jewell Barclay
The first lady's maternal great-great-grandfather Dolphus Shields (seated) was born to Melvinia Shields. After emancipation, he settled his family in Birmingham, Ala., where he stayed until his death in 1950.
Credit Courtesy of Francesca Gray
Obama's paternal grandfather, Fraser Robinson Jr., fought in World War II and spoke Gullah, a language that emerged on the South Carolina coast during slavery.
Credit Damon Wood
DNA tests have shown that Joan Tribble, the great-great-granddaughter of Melvinia Shields' owner, and the first lady are distantly related.
Credit The White House / Getty Images
Michelle Obama's family was part of American history long before she, Malia, Sasha and Barack Obama moved into the White House.
Credit Courtesy of HarperCollins
Rachel Swarns reconstructs Michelle Obama's family tree in her book American Tapestry. (Click here for a closer look.)
Credit Scott Robinson /
Author Rachel Swarns has been a reporter for The New York Times since 1995. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and their two children.
When Michelle Obama's great-great-great grandmother was 8 years old, her life underwent a dramatic change.
Melvinia Shields was a slave who grew up at a South Carolina estate with a relatively large community of slaves she knew well. But then she was moved to a small farm in northern Georgia where she was one of only three slaves; most white people in the area didn't own any.
The second biggest soccer tournament in the world — the Euro 2012 — wraps up Sunday in Kiev, Ukraine. One of the marquee names for the Italian side is Mario Balotelli. Born to parents from Ghana, Balotelli is constantly harassed by racist fans and sometimes by players on the field. Weekends on All Things Considered guest host Laura Sullivan speaks with Daniel Taylor of The Guardian about Balotelli's hot temper and how the taunts sometimes take their toll.
Weekends on All Things Considered guest host Laura Sullivan talks with Heidi Cullen, chief climatologist at Climate Central, a non-profit science journalism organization in Princeton, New Jersey. They discuss wildfires and extreme heat in the Midwest this week and how these climate conditions are tracked by Earth-observing satellites.