Say the word "Namibia" and some may recognise it's connection to Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie but surprisingly, many will respond with tales of the world's best Apple Pie!
It is with a very heavy heart that we must pay tribute to the creator of that Apple Pie, Moose McGregor, who has sadly passed away. Moose moved to Solitaire over 20 years ago and started his bakery to produce a variety of sweet treats for hungry tourists stopping by the tiny town to fuel up their vehicles. His secret weapon of course was his Apple Pie, made from a secret family recipe that had been handed down to him through generations.
The unusual location and the quality of the pie soon caught the imagination of travelers; word of mouth spread and travel writers began to wax lyrical about the fabled pie and the man who created it - a big man, with a big heart and big generosity. In recent times actor Ewan Mcgregor talked about his meeting with his namesake in his book "The Long Way Down". Moose had a copy on hand and if asked would spare no time showing you the chapter where he is featured!
Myself and my partner Kate started work for the NCCC in 2011 and loved Moose from the moment we met him. He was extremely welcoming and told us how pleased he was with having the cheetahs close by and he always did his best to send guests our way. For the next two years we of course needed to go to Solitaire several times a week to get supplies and fill up cars with fuel so we spent plenty of time at the bakery chatting with Moose and often being his tasters for new recipes- a great honor! He also made us many a delicious birthday cake for us and our volunteers and on occasion offered us left over brownie mix for us to make ourselves - for us a warm moose chocolate brownie was as good if not better than the apple pie!
Kate and I have now been based at Neuras for the past year but have still visited the NCCC with our volunteers on a weekly basis and we always made sure we visited the bakery to introduce our Neuras volunteers to the apple pie and say hi to Moose. Always a larger than life character he always appeared to enjoy our visits especially if our volunteers were of the female variety as he made no secret he was looking for a new wife!
Our first trip back to Solitaire after hearing the sad news was difficult. The whole town felt different, with his friends and colleagues clearly affected by his absence. For me and Kate it will never be the same, but we will always be grateful we met the man behind the legend and could call him a friend. RIP Moose, we and the rest of Namibia will miss you.
By Matt Cleverley