How the world's most expensive spice helped these veterans find a sense of purpose.

As members of the armed forces, they served in Afghanistan. But while they were there, they fell in love with the beautiful country and the kind, generous people who live there.

Back home and adjusting to life after the Army, veterans Keith Alaniz and Kimberly Jung wondered how they could support the people of Afghanistan, particularly in parts of the country where a lack of economic opportunity pushes some toward the insurgency.

Image via Upworthy/Facebook.


To create jobs and slow enemy recruiting, these enterprising veterans leaned in to one of Afghanistan's most coveted exports: saffron.

Saffron is harvested from a type of crocus common across Afghanistan. The flavor is subtle and slightly sweet, and the spice is often found in dishes like paella and more adventurous offerings.

All GIFs via Upworthy/Facebook.

But the most notable thing about saffron is the price: It is one of the most expensive spices on the planet, with prices ranging from $2,000 to $10,000 a pound. That's in part because the harvest process is exacting and time-consuming; it takes 150 flowers just to make a gram.

Not only does Afghanistan have ideal conditions for growing the pricey spice, but farmers could earn an impressive return, even better than opium.

So Alaniz and Jung decided to found Rumi Spice, importing as much saffron as they could from Afghan farmers, leading them toward a more stable living.

The farmers gain a consistent customer and are able to provide for their families. Rumi Spice also hires local women to help with the collection and processing, supporting families and uplifting small villages.

"94 farmers, 384 Afghan women — they're our partners in business," Jung says.

And so far, business is good.

Rumi Spice sells saffron to world-class kitchens and amateurs alike, along with speciality items like saffron gummies. The business even scored an investment from Mark Cuban on "Shark Tank."

"I would encourage veterans to find something that drives them," Alaniz says. "There's something out there that will give you purpose if you're doing something you're passionate about."

Jung and Alaniz. Image via Upworthy/Facebook.

Hear from Alaniz and Jung about what they love about Afghanistan and why small businesses are a good fit for veterans.

Finding a sense of purpose after active duty is hard. These vets found it in an unlikely place: a saffron field.

Posted by Upworthy on Monday, October 2, 2017
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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

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