I don't know a great deal of african history, but my understanding is that most of the conflicts like in the congo are the after shocks of colonization/decolonization.
The african people of countries like the congo fought colonization, then when they achieved independence were not able to form a stable government, leaving a vaccum of government in which a despot can step into control by killing (literally) off decent. A despot eventually gains control, but the memory of those killed inspires rebels who want justice and the whole cycle is repeated, miring the countries in grinding poverty and short life spans.
I like to poke fun at the government as much as the next guy, but when you look at the hell some of these countries are in; it makes me thankful that we have a stable government which the people by and large support and are willing to defend.
If you're like me and use a plastic tote to store your gear in then you might want to read further. When plastic totes are manufactured they are typically shipped with the lid on. This makes the inside of the tote smell like the plastic it's made of. To remove the plastic smell from the tote I use baking soda. I open the baking soda up and leave the box in the tote with the lid on for about a month to remove the plastic smell. I tried just leaving the lid off but I was still able to smell...