Life here slowly is returning to normal after six months of political tension exacerbated by clashes among the country's various factions.

Problems -- particularly economic and financial ones -- still weigh heavily.

Outward signs of tension remain, particuarly at the airport. Transit passengers aboard French airline flights arriving there on Sundays are told on landing to stay in the aircraft for the 45-minute stopover, despite high temperatures inside the plane. They are told, "No photographs" from the DC-8's windows.

There are fewer armed men in sight, however. Police and customs formalities have been simplified and the traditional Chadian friendliness is still evident.

Chad has been ruled since April by interim President Goukouni Oueddei, who headed an eight-member State Council for less than a month after former president Felix Malloum and prime minister Hissene Habre resigned. The interim government was formed under terms of a peace agreements to end fighting among Christians, Moslems and Libyan-backed guerrillas in this landlocked north-central African nation of 4.2 million.

In the heart of the rainy season here, when severe thundersqualls strike relatively frequently, life seems to function at half-speed. Here and there the white-painted buildings are pitted with bullet holes or show shell damage -- part of a wall blown out or a roof collapsed.

Fruit, vegetable and handicraft vendors have set up in the arcades of the Rue Charles de Gaulle, but few people pass by. The big department store outside of which they spread their wares no longer opens in the morning, as its stocks are depleted seriously.

Beyond the market, in the Moussel area, abandoned houses are open to the casual visitor. In the Boulevard de Sao, many of the once attractive houses have been looted. They had been abandoned by their owners, mostly from southern Chad, who fled in panic at the first gunshots.

Doors have been ripped off, metal windows pried out and corrugated roofing removed. Anything portable that was left inside has been carted off. Broken glass, personal papers and yellowed family photographs litter the floors.

Ndjamena's main problem remains the lack of electricity, which for much of the day paralyzes the Chadian capital. Nigeria has been blamed for the shortage because of its ban on energy exports reflecting its opposition to the current transitional government. Nigeria said the new government was not sufficiently representative of the country's various factions.

Financial difficulties affecting the Chadian Electric Energy Enterprise have aggravated the problem. Water and electricity supplies are limited to between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. and then, because of the Moslem festival of Ramadan, are expanded to between 6:30 p.m. and 3 a.m. to enable the people to drink after nightfall.

Outside these periods no taps, refrigerators or air conditioners operate. More seriously, Chad's economic activity remains frozen. Without means of international communication, the country is cut off from the world.

Thanks to the proximity of the small town of Kousseri across the border in Cameroon, some trade trickles on. It has become commonplace to see canoes crossing the river with bottles of fuel mixture for low-powered motorbikes, with cans of gasoline and various essential goods.

Some firms, particularly French ones, have decided to send staff to Chad and in some cases their families too.

Nonetheless, expatriate circles in Ndjamena, particularly sensitive to the fate of the local Chadians, hope that the reconciliation efforts between Chad's factions now under way will enable economic activity and normal life to resume.