First of all, this kid is more adept with a machete than I will ever be. He can slice and dice my fresh coconut, pop a straw in, and collect my money in under 30 seconds.
Most children in the area go to school some of the time, but often they stay behind to help family businesses. Or, I've been told that sometimes the teacher just doesn't show up so they have the day off. Packs of boys (no idea where the girls are), when they aren't helping their families like functioning adults, run around with fireworks, firecrackers, machetes, and who knows what else getting up to all sorts of trouble. Small village life is quite safe for kids to be running around... but when I grew up in a small village I wasn't running around with large knives. At least they know how to use them!
Second, fresh coconuts are available at every little shop and stall on every street across the country. When I was riding my motorcycle throughout Cambodia, I'd often time my breaks around the next coconut stand. You can stop, take a break on a chair or a hammock and enjoy fresh coconut juice for about $0.60c CAD (2500 riel). Fresh coconuts have become a regular staple of my diet and are definitely my favourite way to start a day or rehydrate after a long one.
This shop is just down the alley and on the corner from my bungalow, so they know now when I come in with a bit of cash it's coconut time.
In this photo it looks a bit messy in terms of garbage, but by the evening it's all swept up and collected and put in one location, presumably to be taken off and burned somewhere. Sorry, Greenpeace. I suppose my leftover coconut husk isn't as bad as the rest of the garbage being burned?