The House of Peru is opening the doors to their long-awaited cottage for the first time on Saturday in Balboa Park.
The newly constructed House of Peru will serve as a center for Peruvian culture, tourism, arts, music and commerce for the many Peruvians living in and visiting San Diego.
According to House of Peru president Carlos Mozombite, the House of Peru in San Diego is the only one of its kind around the world, outside of Peru, that promotes Peruvian culture and traditions.
"This is just the beginning of a new era where Peruvian culture and traditions will continue to be shared among others for many generations to come. This cottage will be the space where people will learn and experience what a wonderful country Peru is," Mozombite said in an interview with NBC 7.
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Mozombite's excitement surrounding the new cottage is years in the making.
When originally founded in 1935, the House of Pacific Relations (HPR), a consortium of ‘houses’ now representing 33 cultures, did not include Peru as part of the International Cottages in Balboa Park.
Gladys Novinger founded the House of Peru as a 501(c)3 charitable non-profit organization in 2003 and in 2004 it was officially accepted as an HPR member.
In 2015, the House of Peru led the way as the HPR worked through the city of San Diego's required bureaucratic steps and approvals. They received authorization to build nine new international cottages in the Park. One of these cottages is now home to the House of Peru.
"We share the same passion and enthusiasm as 18 years ago when we were recognized as a non-profit organization. But today, we have more volunteers, more members and more friends who believe in us, in our work and in our passion for the community," Mozombite added. "Our main focus now will be to continue helping and supporting our community in need here in San Diego as well as in Peru."
Like the existing cottages, the House of Peru will be filled with authentic decorations from its home nation. They will also utilize their lawn space for outdoor activities, festivals and group meals.
Mozombite and his team hope this new cottage will strengthen the House of Peru's physical presence in Balboa Park and around San Diego.